Dawn of a new day, a whole new ball game . . .

. . .fill in your favorite cliche´ here.

I only watched about an hour and a half of television on January 20, 2009. Well, two and a half hours if you count the last half of the interestingly-timed presentation of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" on Turner Classic Movies. (I was in the room but only half watching as I have seen it at least twice before.)

The 90 minutes or so that I purposely viewed was the same 90 minutes an estimated four million people attended in person. You probably watched it too, either because you wanted to or because the only other thing on television was a rerun of "Judge Judy" on some unaffiliated local TV station.

History was made. History of such a nature that I don't even have to mention what it was, do I?

I've never been a tremendously optimistic person. I'm not especially gloomy, either. Seems to me most things even out over time and there's no sense in getting too high or too low about anything. But the coarsely woven tapestry of hopes and optimism that hung on my wall at the beginning of this young century was knocked slightly askew on that gloomy autumn day in 2000 when a one-vote Supreme Court majority handed George W. Bush the Oval Office. It was then violently cast on the floor on September 11, 2001. (Not Bush's fault, but it was on his watch.) From there it was pretty much relegated to doormat status as the remainder of the Bush administration unfolded. (Cheesy metaphor? Sure. But it's better than the toilet bowl analogy I sent to my wife in an e-mail yesterday.)

As far back as my very first post to this weblog, I swore to myself and my readers (both of you) that this would not be a political blog, and please don't rush to infer a political affiliation from the above paragraph. Both of the predominant political ideologies and parties seem to me to be deeply screwed up, each in their own unique way, and I pledge allegiance to neither. But suffice it to say that, as of yesterday, a President whose values ran counter to so many of my own has been supplanted by a President whose values run much more in parallel with them.

Our new President hit all the right notes in his inaugural address. We were promised yesterday that the face America shows to the world will no longer be that of a torturer, an invader and occupier, or a warrant-less wiretapper. We were offered hope that our economy can and will recover, but also had our expectations tempered, and were warned of hard times, hard work and hard choices ahead, probably for a long time to come. Conciliation and an "open hand" were offered to those abroad who, justly or unjustly, may have felt wronged by the past administration, yet known enemies were warned that any attempt to wreak destruction on our people and property will be met in kind.

Whether Barack Hussein Obama can live up to the promise evidenced by his obvious intelligence and thoughtful, inspired oratory is an open question. Whether the American People will give him the time and a fair chance to do so is another. He is already hemmed in on one side by his most ardent supporters who expect too much of him, and on the other side by hardcore McCain/Palin partisans who will pre-emptively condemn his every move as another step in a march toward socialism.

As an aside, I was very pleased he used his full middle name, "Hussein," and not just "H." in the swearing in. That should be a finger in the eye of those who sought to use his given name to pander to irrational fears of the unenlightened and xenophobic during the campaign.

In any case, all I can say at this time is that I no longer feel the urge, in my occasional correspondence with persons in Europe or elsewhere overseas, to tack onto the end of every e-mail, "By the way, I didn't vote for him."

No comments: