Barack Obama first got to the White House because he brought Americans the most hope. Now the president of has to convince them he is still their best hope.
He told them ‘we can do this’.
This time he has to persuade them he is worthy to remain their leader.
The Republicans have ridiculed his slogan ‘Forward’, but he has told Americans he means it not for those sitting on their big fortunes but for the majority.
“We believe in an America that says: ‘our economic strength has never come from the top down, it comes from the bottom up, it comes from the middle out.’ It comes from students and workers and small business owners and a growing, thriving middle class. That’s what we believe.”
The first mixed-race president of the US, born in Hawaii in 1961 of a Kenyan father and white mother, was a civil rights lawyer before pursuing a political career, first representing Illinois in the nation’s Senate.
More and more people were paying attention to this Harvard graduate with a world view – some childhood time lived in Indonesia – who embraced America’s values closest.
Following the duel with Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2008, she asked her supporters to endorse Obama.
Political analyst David Gergen said: “I believe it was one of the most inspirational campaigns in modern times. It would be hard for anybody to live up to those expectations — much less someone who had inherited such a very difficult recession. I think they got themselves into a situation where they raised expectations higher than they could deliver.”
When Obama won, he kept a sense of modesty and consensual politics, and promised the country better times, with a hint at the Constitution, which begins with ‘We the People, in Order to form a more perfect Union…’
He said: “The road ahead will be long, our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term, but America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.”
And they chanted ‘yes we can’. They had made history. To the believers, ‘forward’ also means ‘we still can’.