Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A new dawn

I'm not alone in thinking that this election mattered more than any other in my lifetime. It's not just that Barack Obama more closely represents my personal politics than any other previous president, it's not just that he's a thoughtful, rational, and pragmatic person who will make an excellent govenor no matter your politics, it's not just what he represents to minorities and immigrants, it's that he's replacing the worst president in the history of the United States.

Think about that for a second. We've had some bad ones. Most of the bad ones pre-20th century are hardly remembered. And for the last 30 years or so the standard for defining a bad president was Richard Nixon. To be so bad as to vastly exceed Nixon's failures is to truly achieve to great badness. And to Bush's credit, he pulled off the task with as much excellence as any proud father could hope for.

(Note to self: When telling my kids they can be anything they want to be as long as they are excellent at what they choose, be sure to tell them the story of George Bush II and the ruin of the American empire.)

So today, as TV reporters both local and (inter)national struggle to find poignant words, needlessly point out that Michele and Barack Obama are walking into a church, and desperately try to maintain objectivity, I'll be doing something else. Yes, I'll be watching. I'm not going to work, I'm not going to do anything else. But I won't be looking for steroids infused poignance or smart, snappy words that put the turnover into context. No, I'll just be sighing in relief. Relief that it's over. Relief that we have a new president that will work his hide off trying to right the ship and redirect our country toward the future. And relief that that son of a bitch Bush didn't suspend the constitution and appoint himself President for Life like some Hugo Chavez wanna be.

I'll also be hoping. I'll be hoping that Obama makes it out of there today alive (seriously). I'll be hoping that Obama is just as savvy as I think he is. I'll be hoping that America will be converted into a place where I want to live again and where I would want to raise my children. And I'll be hoping that I can find my way back and a place where I can contribute in my own way to a more progressive, Euro-style America that reflects our values of kindness, charity, good will to others both at home and abroad, all of which would help restore America as a shining example to the world of how democracy, freedom, and humanity can manifest in something truly good.



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