Deena Smith, Staff Writer

The election of President Barack Obama will remain a milestone in American history. After his election, however, questions about the future of the country have been plentiful.

Many of these questions were discussed during last Wednesday’s Fall for the Book presentation, “Understanding Obama.”

Each of the three authors attending presented unique and engaging perspectives on the Obama presidency.
The first speaker, Niall Stanage, author of Redemption Song: An Irish Reporter Insider the Obama Campaign, said the perception of the United States has increased favorably since Obama entered the presidential election.

According to Stanage, the Global Attitudes Project’s most recent statistics in 2006 showed that favorability of the U.S. jumped in Germany from 37 to 64 percent and in Spain from 23 to 58 percent. In France, the favorability almost doubled from 39 to 75 percent.

Stanage said reasons for this increase could be because Obama is a Democrat and the Republicans lost respect because of former President George W. Bush, but also because Obama gave back the “mythic sense of America.”

Stanage said Obama restored some of the founding principles of our country, such as a sense of possibility and a policy of zero tolerance on torture. Stanage believes having popularity and respect can go a long way in international relations.

Political consultant and founder of Cedric Muhammad shared his thoughts on how Obama’s personality will affect his political endeavors and his impact in the African American community.

Muhammad described Obama as having a “diasporic personality” and being a “cultural entrepreneur.” Muhammad predicts this will allow the president to cross “class, creed, and international boundaries.”
He believes Obama’s distinct personality and unique background will create a more cultural and entrepreneurial shift in our politics.

According to Muhammad, Obama can do certain things because of who he is and the era he entered office. “Only a Democrat could boost funding for investigators for social safety nets,” said Muhammad.

He explained that if a Republican president were to increase funding to investigate people trying to cheat and take advantage of the system they would likely have been criticized.

Children’s author Charisse Carney-Nunes focused on a similar point. Her third book, I Am Barack Obama, is a poem following Obama as a boy asking “Who will change the world?” As the book ends, he finds that he will change the world.

However, the book has a unique addition: short narratives from children around the U.S. who discuss how they feel they relate to the president.

Obama came from humble beginnings, focused on his education, adhered to his values and goals and ended up becoming the first African American President of the United States of America.

He broke boundaries, shattered stereotypes and realized a dream so many thought would never become a reality.

As college students who are still trying to find our way and feel out our niche in life, I think we can learn something from Obama and these panelists, who also rose to achieve great things.