Monday, January 19, 2009

The Last Hours of Our National Nightmare

They're actually leaving.

Of course Bush and Cheney have tried to grab headlines in their final weeks in power. Today, however, an AP story offers food for thought:
Vice President Dick Cheney pulled a muscle in his back while moving boxes and will be in a wheelchair for Tuesday's inauguration ceremony.

All those secret papers must be heavy! (sigh) A court ruling has actually gone in Cheney's favor on such stuff but I suppose he's not taking any chances. He had to move the boxes himself. But a wheelchair? If Cheney needs a wheelchair, so be it. But I can't help thinking of dictators, mafia bosses and SS guards who have used wheelchairs for sympathy. It's impossible not to think of "the way Pinochet danced out of his wheelchair" a few years back. Such are the times.

My wife is staying home tomorrow morning so we'll be watching the inauguration together. Obama doesn't have to do his best speech ever but I hope he has fresh material. And I hope he inspires in such a way that we might see real change in four to eight years. Down the road, the biggest change we can hope for is that the next time the Republicans return to the White House we won't see a repeat of the illegal nonsense we have seen too often from Republican presidents in the last forty years. The Republican Party needs to reform itself and put its authoritarian habits out by the curb (and, please, not in the recycle bin).

Barack Obama. Well, it's an amazing event. And it's historic. And it's a proud moment for our nation. Here's a great article by David Maraniss of The Washington Post about Barack Obama:
The first president to enter the White House with a literate and introspective memoir behind him, Obama is his own book of firsts. He is the first president with a foreign father. He is the first president to grow up in Hawaii, the 50th state. He is the first president whose parents earned doctoral degrees. He is the first president who once could speak the Indonesian language. He is the first president who was president of the Harvard Law Review. He is the first president who was a hapa, as they are called in Hawaii, with parents of different races. He is the first president who has a sister from Asia and a sister from Africa and a wife from the black working-class South Side of Chicago. And he is the first African American president, yet one with no slaves but a few slaveholders in his ancestry.

I remember a great James Stewart western from many years ago where his character was described by a local reporter as the first this and the first that. It's pure Americana what Maraniss is doing there. The United States has always been a nation of firsts. Let's hope the United States is still capable of more firsts in the coming years that can make us proud.

At noon on January 20, hope returns.



Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Nicely stated. I'm almost giddy with good feelings, hope and relief.

I just hope expectations of Obama's problem-solving abilities aren't so inflated that six months or a year from now people will be as down on him as they are high on him now.

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Craig said...

S.W., good to hear from you. I share your feelings about Obama.

I think a growing number of bloggers have been pointing out that things are so bad it will take years to dig out. I think that message is taking hold. I hope so.

But Republican militants bear watching. They would like nothing more than to throw a monkey wrench into needed change, even to the point of weakening our nation and ruining our economy. It's curious that an attitude like that is coming from the far right. It kind of obliterates the word 'conserve' in conservative.

I admit that in the last year, I became increasingly impatient with Republican leaders, but I applaud Obama's reaching out. If he can reach even 10-20% of the Republican Party, it will serve us all well.

5:56 PM  

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