At midnight tonight Barrack Obama will end his term as the 44th President of the United States. He is, in my opinion, unquestionably the greatest president of my lifetime. I have no real memory of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. I do recall Richard Nixon’s fall from grace, which I consider the most damaging thing done to the office. Ford and Carter are a blur. Reagan was a cartoon nightmare, and then there was Bush 1, Bush 2, and Bubba Clinton with all of his flaws. Obama has been relentlessly intelligent, classy and, damn it, presidential. He is a wonderful orator, and seems smart and decent and all you could hope for in a world leader. It’s been incredible to be alive for his presidency.
But, when midnight strikes and we begin our march towards the dead of night, Donald J. Trump will assume office as the 45th president. For all that there are many, many things surrounding his presidency that are deeply concerning – even from here in Australia – it’s probably fair to say the most stressful thing about it right now is the unknown. No one really knows what he will do, how we will attempt to do it, or what affect it will have. I confess that I am deeply pessimistic. I feel that he will leave the US and its allies fundamentally worse off than how he now finds it. I think people I care about, and many people I’ll never meet, will suffer as a result of his ascending to office, and that Australia’s economy will likely suffer too. We shall see. I earnestly hope I’m wrong.
In the meantime, strictly by coincidence, my own first act of the Trump Presidency will be to go to the Perth Arena on Sunday evening and watch Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live in concert for just the seventh time. I’m pretty excited about. How about you? What will you be doing?