Assessing Barack Obama’s first year as president, I’m not surprised by the disappointing list of accomplishments and continued business as usual in Washington. But I didn’t expect the nation’s political conversation to get away from Obama’s White House as badly as it has, given what an astute campaign his team ran. I still hold out hope that president and his team are merely incompetent or just going through a bad patch and that the Nixon’s funeral rule doesn’t apply.
At the 1994 funeral of Richard Nixon (which I watched in Beijing during my first visit to China, right before cycling to Mao’s tomb in Tiananmen Square), I understood why all the living ex-presidents, regardless of party, and incumbent Bill Clinton felt obliged to attend. But when Clinton took the podium and said good things about Nixon, it taught me a key lesson: Clinton and Nixon and the rest of the politicians at that funeral were all on the same side, and that wasn’t the side I was on. I’m still hoping that someone on my side has finally gotten into the White House, and that they will deliver change we can believe in.
Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.