I don't know if I can adequately explain my feelings about the upcoming Presidential Inauguration. I have never been filled with such hope and optimism for an incoming President; I've never been so excited for a new President to take the helm and outline his plan for our country. Part of it is my age, but most of it is because I don't think we have had a President generate this much expectation and excitement before. Well, at least not anytime during the past eight years.
The expectations facing this man are great. He will be expected to fix what has been damaged or destroyed over the course of the last eight years and he will be expected to do it quickly. There are those who think he is up for the job and those who are hoping he fails (a concept so foreign to me...I would never want any President to fail, regardless of party affiliation). The reality is that President-Elect Obama will not be able to remedy all that ails our country overnight. It will take years, but I am so hopeful that he will immediately begin to implement his plans to fix our economy, our healthcare system, the war in Iraq, etc.
Television has been flooded with Obama this and Obama that and there seems to be fairly consistent rhetoric when it comes to the way people describe him. Both his supporters and critics alike describe him as truthful, cool, calm, collected, analytical, even-keeled, and other similar adjectives. That is exactly the type of person I want making hard, complicated decisions. That is the type of person that should have been in the White House for the past eight years.
It will be interesting to see how Obama's beliefs grow and/or change. President Bush governed Texas more from the middle. Few would describe his record as Governor of Texas as extreme. It wasn't until he got to the White House that he began to veer so far to the right, polarizing the majority of Americans. He no longer represented most mainstream Republicans. Sure, there are those fringe, right-wing fanatics who think he is a terrific President and I think over time, the decisions he made and the long-term effects of those decisions will prove otherwise. But it gives me pause. Could Obama do the same thing the other way?
I'm a moderate. Some would say I am a liberal Republican, most would say a conservative Democrat. Technically, I'm neither. I do know that I don't want a President who deals in extremes. We've had one of those for eight years and have been repeatedly shown that that does not work. It's divisive. Obama has governed from the middle. I hope he remains that way. Just as Bush went off the right side deep end, I pray that Obama will not dive off the left side deep end. By all accounts thus far it does not appear that way, but Washington DC has a way of thwarting even the best of intentions. I truly do believe that Obama will do a much better job of uniting and not polarizing our nation. I also think he will not label those that differ with him as evil or un-American. I have faith that he will not cultivate a climate of fear, but instead one of hope and optimism.
One of my favorite aspects of Obama is the way he interacts with his family. He seems to have a wonderful, strong, respectful marriage and it is obvious that both he and Michelle Obama have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. In a day and age where politics and scandals seem to mix it is nice to see a positive model of marriage (I would say the same thing about President and Laura Bush's marriage for the most part as well). It is also endearing to see his interaction with his children. It's been a long time since children, in the truest sense of the word, have moved into the White House. Watching how Michelle Obama and our future President have made the transition with their daughters' best interest at the forefront of all decisions instills me with a sense of comfort and security. I can't really explain it other than to say that I think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their children and their spouse.
I watched an interview with Warren Buffett this weekend. I was surprised to learn that he is a staunch Obama supporter. I don't know why that surprises me so much, but it does. Buffett had a slew of compliments to bestow upon Obama, namely believing that he truly can fix the economy over time. He acknowledges it will take years, but believes the policies Obama plans to implement and the team he has put in place is the appropriate one for our current predicament. Buffett said one of Obama's best qualities is his ability to listen and absorb the information.
So, I'm excited to see what new policies this President will implement, I'm anxious to see new people in charge working together instead of divisively pulling each other apart. I am excited to be able to hope again, to feel optimistic about our country, and to truly believe that the American people, you and me, will once again have a say. We have been silenced by fear and accusations of being un-American for eight years now. It's time to hope for change.