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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oh Happy Day

Four years ago I was in mourning. It was not just the disappointment of having the “other guy” win the White House. It was a deep sadness and disbelief that George W. Bush was going to spend four more years occupying the most powerful office in the world, continuing to damage our standing in the world, nibbling on our rights, and waging a war that has only made our lives more dangerous. My naturalized daughter-in-law asked me how it could have happened again after all the lies and corruption. I had no answer for her, but I could not believe that Americans had turned their backs on the values that I believe are the foundation of this country--equality and freedom--and out of fear were attempting to turn the US into some sort of right wing theocracy.

As dark as those days were, the joy I felt on Inauguration Day watching an intelligent, eloquent African American be sworn into the Office of the President of the United States is beyond words. Watching George Bush fly away, I felt an oppressive cloud lift with the helicopter and realize that it truly is a new era in America. Colors look brighter and so does the future. Although living in a world in recession and personally with an uncertain financial future, I cannot help but feel optimistic for the country and the world. The face of America no longer looks only like old white men.

Our willingness to put fear and prejudice behind us cannot end with this historic election and inauguration. Not since the murders of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. have we felt this sense of possibility. We have another chance to get it right. We have another chance to demonstrate American leadership in diplomacy, environmental issues, and sustaining life on the planet. We have another chance to go down the road of equality and freedom and it will take everyone pedaling the bicycle of Democracy. We cannot expect President Obama to do it alone. Tough times and tough choices await us. We have to return to notions long abandoned like thrift and saving and delayed gratification; freedom of religion and privacy; personal responsibilty.

There are right-wing ideologs who are praying for our president’s failure. You’ve only to turn on Fox”News” to hear their venom. President Obama is going to be held to a microscope, criticized and misconstrued. He hadn’t made it to the first inaugural ball before some began to decry his oath-taking which was botched by Justice Roberts. There are those who would rather wish our country ill than to see a Democratic Black Man lead us out of the morass left by the last administration. Undoubtedly some of these people wish President Obama more ill than just failure. Evil does not just dwell in the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Perhaps the election of an African American could not have happened in my lifetime without the eight dark years just ended. Perhaps there could not have been a Barak Obama without a George W. Bush. Regardless, I am happy to say, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, goodbye.”


VW said...

And how hard did you pray that Mr. Bush would succeed? Actually, we pray for Obama in my house as much as we prayed for Bush and will continue to do so for whoever may sit in the Oval Office.

What I hope Mr. Obama fails at is turning us into socialist state - or at least more than what we are.

Are the left-wing ideologues who venomously hated Mr. Bush any better than those who might feel similar to Mr. Obama?

Personally, I certainly don't wish President Obama any personal ill will. I certainly don't hate him. But I disagree with a lot of what President Obama hopes to accomplish. I think it's wrong for the country.

Is that a wish for failure? In a way, but no more than I hoped that some of Mr. Bush's policies would fail because I thought they were ill conceived.

In a two party system, we will have different ideas as to how the country should be run. Dissent IS patriotic, isn't it?


Stephanie Frieze said...

Liberal minded people are generally more accepting of diversity of ideas and people in general. I don’t hate, George Bush but am very, very glad that he is no longer in a position of doing more damage. My greatest wish the past eight years was for his health. The only thing I have ever done that has been misconstrued as unpatriotic was to advocate thrift and energy conservation. Being insatiable consumers is what got us to where we are. Not just the financial institutions are to blame.

President Obama and the country need more than prayers, though both certainly have mine. Rectifying mistakes of the past will take time and our patience. The mistakes of the last eight years will not be undone easily.

The burden President Obama bears is larger than any president has had to bear in a very long time. His success or failure will not only impact our country today, but will the likelihood of diversity continuing to be accepted by white Americans. I would like to think that someday a woman, a Hispanic, an Asian, a Jew and a Muslim will have the opportunity of being elected based not on their sex, color, or religion, but—to use Martin Luther King’s words—on the contents of their character.

VW said...

I thought so. It's OK to dis on Mr. Bush because you thought he was bad for the country, but I'm some how not quite as accepting if I'm not exactlyenthralled with Mr. Obama.

While Bush wasn't perfect, I could argue that he was not all together as badd as you think and that this economic mess has roots with idiotic stuff pulled by both parties.

I don't think history will find Bush to be a great President, but I think the lens of the historian scope will probably show him to be better than you might think.

I'm willing to give Mr. Obama a chance which is a whole lot more most people were willing to give to Bush from day one.


Stephanie Frieze said...

I agree with you about the economy. This is decades in the making.

As to George Bush's historical position, I heard that James Buchanan is considered worse, but I am not old enough or enough of an American history scholar to comment. But I do see your point. It's now the Democrats turn to be made fun of on late night television (I thought the ball gown looked like a bedspread, too). My only hope is that we do not give them quite so much material as they've had the past 18years and that fewer people will die.

JosephMcG said...

Thanks, Stephanie, your comments are refreshing, insightful, and right on!!!