After eight years of the leadership and policies of an administration that I believe will be remembered as the worst in American history, we the people have sweeping new leadership in Washington… for a little while, at least. I don’t know if this new administration will actually deliver on the messages of hope and change that they have been continually bombarding us with over the last two years, but what I do know is that if this change in leadership had not taken place, then the America that the world has known for the last 200 years would have died. The outgoing administration has so vilified America in the eyes of the rest of the world that I dare to say that this new administration cannot possibly cause more harm without resorting to filming Americans soldiers cooking and devouring foreign toddlers as the President looks on and smiles.
And even then I’d hedge my bets.
To say that I’m optimistic about the next four years of President Obama’s administration would be a little misleading. But only because optimistic is too weak a word. Now, while it’s true that I would have been happy with nearly ANYONE who promised to alter, change or reverse as much of President Bush’s policies as possible, I must say that I was behind Barack Obama from the moment he gave his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It was obvious then that he would be a great political force to contend with, and I dearly hoped he would run in 2008.
And then Hillary threw her hat in the ring.
Not in my wildest dreams did I think a young, political neophyte African-American could come even close to winning once Hillary joined the race. She is a Clinton after all and voting for her would net TWO presidents for the price of one, but still I held out hope that Barack Obama might be her pick for VP when she got the nomination. Then the momentum started to build behind Obama and it became a two person race between the old and busted leadership and the new hotness that America could become. And then, against all odds it wasn’t Obama who was fighting to be Hillary’s VP, but Hillary who was trying to garner a spot in Barack’s administration. Talk about surprise endings! All of which brings us to today. For the first time in eight years there is a president in office who I believe can do what we the people need him to do. And what do I believe we the people need most right now?
I hope that President Obama will lead us through these dark times the same way he led his presidential campaign, doing what was necessary in an open and inclusive way without anger, without fear, without hatred. Leading us with humility, strength, intelligence and understanding while forgoing the divisiveness and heavy-handed fear mongering of the previous administration. I pray that President Obama will continue to lead all of us through his example; taking the high road of intelligent discourse without blindly attacking when provoked. Use his humility where those before him used smug righteousness.
Show the world our compassion instead of our judgment.
I also hope he makes use of thorough, comprehensive study so that he fully understands the problems we face before he makes the hard, long-term policy decisions that may take years to come to fruition but will certainly be better than a quick and hasty fix that is meant to show involvement but solve nothing. Will he solve every ill that has arisen in the past 8 years? Can he fix Wall Street, the housing crisis, health care, the banks, our economy, our reputation and all the other things that are failing or threatening to fail?
I don’t know. But for the first time in 8 years, I have hope.
I’ve got a lot of my faith in the democratic process and the American way of life riding on President Obama’s shoulders, and so do a whole lot of other people in America. That’s a whole lot for anyone to bear, let alone a young and newly appointed President who is also the first African-American man to ever lead this country. But I believe Barack Obama can, and will, prove to the world that America can survive. That we did not all join the dark side and drink the cool-aid of hate, fear and isolationism. We the people, with the right leadership, can repair the damage that has been done by those who came before. If the incoming administration truly believes its own message and follows through with its promise of hope and change, then America will once again become the world’s brightest beacon of freedom, equality and opportunity. I’m not saying our new president will be the answer to every one of our problems because it will take all of us working together for many years to right this ship and make a better future for this country. One person, no matter how charismatic or talented he, or she, might be, will never be enough by themselves to bring about the changes we now know we need. But one person can lead us out from our yesterdays of dark despair and into the light of the bright future we have nearly lost hope of reaching. We need a leader with vision, fortitude, solid morals and intelligence and it is my firm belief that President Obama is such a man.
And now tomorrow doesn’t seem so scary to me anymore.