Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Is this a day that will live in history?

There are some days in history that those who lived through them remember vividly - for me it was John Kennedy's assassination, the first Moon landing, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and 9/11/01. For my parents, those days included the Great Depression, and Pearl Harbor and winning World War II.

I talked to my daughter last night, and my 5-year old grandson, Lucas, has been discussing Barack Obama in his kindergarten class. He has expressed very high hopes to his mother about President Obama - that the country will be better. Today may be one of those days that Lucas will remember for the rest of his life.

Millions of people see personified in Barack Obama the dream that "any person born in this country can become President." Many never believed that this day could happen. It has, and it will happen many more times throughout history. Our Presidential history includes many men of humble origins and significant life achievements.

I have high hopes for how Barack Obama will lead the United States of America. I hope for peace and prosperity in the world - especially for free people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and Palestine. I hope for a growing economy, low unemployment and low inflation that enables each person to succeed in life. I hope for an education system, and a health care system, that encourages personal responsibility, rewards provider competence and efficiency, and results in an educated and healthy populace. I hope for energy independence that balances consumer needs with environmental protection. I hope for a political watershed in Washington DC that focuses on building up the country and not tearing down individuals or groups. Frankly, my expectations don't match my hopes!

I worry that Barack Obama is being put on a very high pedestal, and that if/when he fails, he will be disowned by the people that elected him. After all, he is only a politician, he is not a savior or messiah. We don't know, still, about his management and decision-making skills. We think we know what he thinks about issues, but many people may be surprised by what he does. A President is a chief executive, but s/he has to work with Congress. I keep reminding myself that "pro" is the opposite of "con" - and therefore I don't expect much pro-gress from Con-gress. Never have, never will.

I want Lucas to know that this is a very special day for many people in this country because of what Barack Obama represents. The hopes and fears of many years are met in him today. But he will be judged by history by what he accomplishes, not by what people hope for or expect.

I don't believe that I have told Lucas that Barack is his cousin. I will do that soon as a way to get him interested in family history. See this post for the discussion.

To cousin Barack - I wish you all the best. If you want my help on anything, just ask. By the way, when are you going to come visit your cousin in Chula Vista? We have two extra bedrooms all dressed up waiting for you and the family. Um, why wasn't I invited to the inaugural?

No comments: