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Monday, January 19, 2009

Good Morning, Mr. President. (Updated)

President Bush, a flawed man who will be judged by history far less harshly than he has been by contemporary media and by many of my fellow citizens, has left office. Today we celebrate the inauguration of Barrack Obama and, perhaps more significantly, we celebrate another peaceful passing of the power from one party to another.

There is no doubt that it is worth celebrating this proof of the continued gains of racial equality in the United States. That a black man could ascend to the seat of the presidency removes a significant barrier from the psyches of black men and women. No more is there a limit to how high that little black boy or girl can dream; from today, anything is possible. I truly believe that this is something worth celebrating.

So, yes, I celebrate the inauguration of Barrack Obama, President of the United States of America, and I hope and pray to the core of my being that his choices are wise, that his leadership matches his charisma, and that we are all better for his presidency. To hope for anything less than good for Obama would be an act of spite for my own country--not something I would be particularly proud of.

While I doubt that I will agree with all of his decisions, I will never treat the office or the president with anything less than the respect that he is due. I will voice my criticisms and disagreements with vigor but without rancor.

And today, like millions of other Americans, I will celebrate his election.

It isn’t just this election, though; it’s the continuation of the political system that has given us all a solid bedrock on which to build our futures. Every few years we hold elections in this country and some measure of power is passed from person to person and party to party. While our country isn’t at its healthiest right now, our unique government and culture still give us a potential future that most of the world still envies. The continuity of our system is a beautiful thing even when we don’t make the best decisions; if you doubt that, take a look at the joke that democracy became in Russia or the tragedy of faux-democracy through much of Africa. That’s hardly a reason to feel calm and complacent, but it’s a good reason to feel hopeful.

President Obama has a difficult road ahead, but he is bringing something to the citizens that has seemed in short supply of late: faith in our nation. With hard work, we, the people, can use that faith to make our nation strong again. That isn’t something that we have to ask the president to do for us, it’s something that we can and will do for ourselves.

Early in the morning of the first day of President Obama’s term in office, I am raising a glass to him, to my country, and to all of my fellow citizens.

Update: Bob had similar thoughts (although his linking this post was obviously a play for free shots at the next gathering of Rocky Mountain area bloggers).

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