South responds to Obama

By Jeremiah Davis and Jesse Zhang
Published: February 2009

Much like the rest of the country, students and teachers at South are expressing awe, excitement, and both the optimism and the disappointment of high expectations following the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

“It was something the country needed, history teacher Eugene Stein said. “It was invigorating.

In his first weeks in office, Obama has begun to work on many of the promises that he made during his campaign, but some feel that Obama will not be able to keep all of them.

According to junior Mika Braginsky, founder of South’s Conservative Student Union, Obama’s campaign promises “aren’t related to reality.

“I am concerned with the success of his economic stimulus package, she said. “I am also concerned with the people he’s appointing.

Several obstacles, most notably resistance from Congressional Republicans, have slowed Obama’s progress.

“The only mistake he has made so far is not getting enough Republican support, sophomore Justin Kieran, who debates political issues on the Speech Team, said.

“People have to be realistic with how much he can do, seeing as the country is in such a difficult state, Stein said. “Still, he is already setting that tone [of success].

Others, however, are confident with Obama’s abilities to deal with the nation’s problems.

“He keeps reminding us that it may take years, but things will improve and I completely trust him to make the right choices, junior Maddie Willert said. “He will do the best job possible.

METCO counselor Katani Sumner feels that it is unfair for one to expect Obama to live up to all his promises.

“Promises are often made before the reality of the position is fully grasped, she said.

Although not all students at South preferred the outcome of the election, they still have confidence in Obama.

“I felt mostly disappointment that my candidate didn’t win, though not much else, sophomore and Conservative Student Union member Nathan Braginsky, Mika’s younger brother, said.

“I would have preferred McCain, Mika said. “But since [Obama] is president, I support him and hope he does a good job.

The historical significance of the election elicited strong reactions from South students.

“The reason Obama was elected is because so many Americans, especially the youth, worked really hard and got involved even though many of them can’t vote yet, Willert said. “This is, as he says, ‘Ëœour victory’ because we’re the ones who made it for ourselves.

For Kieran and Sumner, the fact that a black man became president made the election especially significant.

“It was the day we got our first black president, as well as former-President Bush leaving office. It was amazing, Kieran said.

“I felt a new sense of hope and pride in my fellow Americans that set aside issues of race and difference and elected the person that clearly seemed qualified for the job, Sumner said.

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