Monday, January 19, 2009
Tomorrow Barack Hussein Obama will become our president. And I am going to allow myself to hope. I have spent the last days watching the festivities, reading about the final weeks of his transition and of course listening to Obama's words. There are two notes in particular that give me hope. Obama more than any of his predecessors appears to listen to his ideological opponents. He has for instance sought out the counsel of John McCain. He has listened to the thoughts of leading conservatives. He is not blinded by ideology. He is comfortable with debate and dialogue. Maureen Dowd took note of this character trait in yesterday's Times, while also cautioning that this can turn into a tragic flaw. Obama is "...a complex, polysyllabic professor sort who will make a decision only after he has held it up to the light and examined it from all sides." Most important of all Obama possesses a remarkable ability to be honest and forthright about our struggles while still sounding a note of hope. His hope is not pollyannish. Our country does indeed face many challenges. Yet despite this, and perhaps because of our new leader's words, I am once again hopeful about the future and the great potential of our country. Until tomorrow I conclude with Obama's words from yesterday's ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial: "...Despite all of this -- despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead -- I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure, that it will prevail, that the dream of our founders will live on in our time.... There is no doubt that our road will be long, that our climb will be steep. But never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease, but by the right we do when the moment is hard. I ask you to help reveal that character once more, and together, we can carry forward as one nation, and one people, the legacy of our forefathers that we celebrate today." I am going to allow myself to hope. I am also going to answer the call to strengthen our nation's character.