Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”
– Robert Heinlein (via Monster Hunter Nation)
We'll see how the next four years go - what Obama tries to leave as his legacy, how the economy does (markets had their biggest losses of the year today), and what happens internationally. Big questions, and I don't have high confidence levels that they'll turn out well.
What's worse though is that I don't see things getting better after Barack leaves office in 4 years. The demographics and culture of the country are shifting, and as the Obama payroll grows ever larger and the dependence on government programs increases, that shift will only become more pronounced. We may well be inside a dependence death spiral that the masses won't break out of. I don't have a good feeling about this next 4 years, and the 4 years after that is already starting to scare me.
I'd love to be completely wrong - it's in my interest as much as anyone else's for this country to get back to its old awesome self. Heck, maybe Obama will be true to his word and work to bridge party lines and get some good moderate type things accomplished. I don't have a lot of hope for that kind of change from his last term, but I'm happy to be wrong.