The 2008 US transition from a conservative to a radically new administration brought the "two Americas" of the haves and have-nots into open battle. Communication sounded the starting gun and provided the ammunition.
In one America, 79 percent of the population agreed with US Senator Reid that the previous administration was "the worst ever" in American history, according to a December Gallop poll. In the other America, a small cadre of the secretive outgoing President's supporters spoke out through the media in defense of an administration winding down on an American political patriarchy and a global white male monopoly.
Topping the list of the outgoing President's defenders was the subject himself, who made available in December an interview conducted by his sister in which he said the only regret of his presidency was "faulty intelligence" on Iraq. Even so, he said he wanted to be remembered as a "liberator," contradicting the implication that war with Iraq would not have occurred had the intelligence been accurate.
The tanking US economy was not on the exiting President's list of regrets, though by early January Barron's declared US Treasury bonds to be the biggest bubble in all the US financial bubbles encompassing Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission, financial institutions and the basis of the entire US economic structure from manufacture to lending to investment and global trade. The media covered the tumbling economy amply. The vacating President in his final press conference simply said, "I came into a recession and I'm going out in one."
Throughout the last months of the dying order, the exiting President's defenders echoed the assurance that history would vindicate the "liberator" who had "invaded" Iraq. His wife, his Secretary of State and his Vice President all took to the airwaves to echo the words the President had spoken in that last press conference, that the long-range view would trump the short-sighted "popularity" he didn't worry about.
The obvious message needed little editorializing. Praise of the President's gains in the Middle East came just as Israel began an assault on the Hamas leadership that had won the vote in an election the vacating administration had promoted. The Middle East upheaval continued as the vindication message was put out while the sitting President's popularity plummeted to the low 20 percentage range by his exit.
That particular twilight zone of the 2008 US transition ended when the new administration roared into office and began tossing "business as usual" into dumpsters. A tidal wave of support swept into office the first minority leader of a western industrialized nation and that was the factor that enabled the new leader to set the process of revolution into motion. The support was due entirely to the much maligned media, which in the 2008 US transition simply did its job.
Throughout the presidential campaign, the media had carried the message of reality back and forth between the people of America and the new leader they would choose. By the twilight zone of the transition, the self-evident was speaking for itself.
Helen Fogarassy is a Hungarian-born American internationalist writer working with the United Nations for nearly 20 years. She is the author of a suspense novel, The Midas Maze, about murderous hijinks in UN/US relations. She is also the author of The Light of a Destiny Dark, a novel about the Euro-American cultural gap through Hungarian eyes, and a nonfiction eyewitness tribute to the UN's work, Mission Improbable: The World Community on a UN Compound in Somalia. All are available on the major web bookstore sites. E-mail her at email@example.com