Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can Obama (or Anybody) "De-Nixon-ify" the U.S.?

Watching the Obama half-hour program tonight, I admit, I was pretty excited, not that he's going to be president (we still have to vote), but that there's any politician like him right now. I'm far from a giddy, emotive person, yet I've been excited about Obama, as a politician and then as a candidate, since his 2004 Democratic Convention address. I have repeatedly admitted that this is the first time in my life I've ever been excited about voting for anybody, and it will be the first time that I vote not against a candidate, but for one.

Tonight, hearing just the first two minutes, where Obama expressed how people still have hope, in spite of the economy and the wars and all the things facing the country, a thought crossed my mind. Is it possible that Obama, or any other politician, may be able to "de-Nixon-ify" the U.S. public's attitude towards politics? What I mean by this is, ever since Watergate, the public attitude towards American politics and politicians has been one of cynicism, skepticism, sarcasm, whereas that hadn't always been the case. For all the legacies Nixon left, no doubt the most impressive one to me is how his administration fundamentally shifted the way we the American people view politicians today.

Will it be that any politician, Obama or somebody else, might be able to reverse the damage that Nixon to our image of politics and politicians? What do others think - will Watergate be "undone" somewhere down the line? Or are we too partisan at this point for anything to be "undone" or improved?