Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Change, Hope, and Cautious Optimism...
"Each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but... we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect."
Obama said that. I believe it's a very nice sentiment, indeed. We SHOULD be nice to each other. I try to do that every day. I appreciate you telling me, American government, how to uphold the golden rule that my parents taught me when I was 4.
Obama's also said that cynicism is one of the biggest obstacles he faces. After the previous paragraph, I guess I can't deny that I'm one of those kooky cynics who's waiting to see how everything he promised to everybody will be fulfilled in the next 4 years. I'm cynical of ALL politicians. I feel as though they all blow a bunch of sunshine up our collective asses while they're at the absolute mercy of the image-makers, given that image our media decides to bestow upon them. Obama has been given the image of deity, and while I feel as though it's nice for people to have something to believe in, I don't necessarily believe that Obama is the Messiah. I don’t think any politician is the Messiah. But then again, the Messiah I was raised to believe in was a carpenter who, in my mind, resembled Willem Dafoe in Scorcese's "The Last Temptation of Christ." So, I suppose I’m already jaded. And as I’ve grown up and read about other religions and their deified figures, I believe even the Dalai Lama can be seen as somewhat of a deity, but a lawyer-turned-politician? Yeah, no.
In my mind, Obama's rise to presidency and subsequent deified status is the result of people who want so badly for someone to swoop in and swaddle them in the blanket of change. His inaguration tonight is a testament to both the power of our media, the power of amazing branding, as well as underlying desperation and desire of people in this country to see some sort of change. The ones who are screaming "Change!" and "What about ME?" outnumber the ones who aren't, and as someone who really believes in democracy, this is a true testament that it's alive and well, after all. I have to be happy about that, and I am.
Obama also has been quoted as saying, "It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success too. My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody ... I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
CHANGE is what people want. And, as a woman who's never been afraid of change herself, I suppose I should be hopeful about the possibility of it. Problem is, the changes that I personally wanted from my government didn't include someone taking care of me. I've always done an O.K. job of doing that myself. Regardless, I’m doing my civic duty of remaining a positive and patriotic American today, and I, too, shall be hopeful for change that his administration does many good things, while keeping people accountable for their own individual lives. I’ll have faith that Mr. Obama will do all of the things he promised to do. I respect his position, as starting tomorrow, he's got to roll up his sleeves and get to work. At the same time, I don’t see me spending hours in front of the TV today watching the coverage. For the record, though, I may have watched at least some of it had he chosen Mary J. Blige over Beyonce to sing for the President/First Lady first dance. Not sure what happened there...
Cheers to the next four years and my democratic right to be cautiously optimistic.