Americans ready for Obama presidency
The official inauguration of President Barack Obama is set. Schedules have been made, tours begun, and pre-inaugural speeches given. A strong sense of unity hangs in the air. What more could an incoming leader want or need? For starters, it would have been nice if he could have walked into his new office without a pile of tasks towering over him on his desk.
It is likely that after his first few days in office our newly-elected president will feel as if he has been hired as the nation’s official janitor – he will be cleaning up President Bush’s messes for years to come. For the rest of us, there is relief.
Thankfully, gone are the days of unintelligible speeches and goofy facial expressions to distract our minds from the situation at hand, and with any luck, we will no longer be subjected to hearing ‘nucular’ instead of ‘nuclear’ in official speeches.
This weekend was one of whirlwind quick-stops and pertinent mini-speeches as Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden boarded the train for the 137-mile, whistle-stop tour en route to Washington, D.C.
In 2005, when President George W. Bush was sworn in for his second term, as well as his 2001 inauguration, the hype and enthusiasm wasn’t there as it is this year. Aside from being the center of a historic moment for the United States, Barack Obama is simply seen as more likeable. Not since President John F. Kennedy have we had someone as youthful and energetic as Obama, nor have we had someone with this much passion.
I can easily remember watching former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Roanald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush give their speeches on television. I am sure my parents had me in the living room (where the TV was) when President Gerald Ford would give his speeches, though I don’t remember them. As a child, I wasn’t concerned with the happenings of the world around me, but watched the speeches because my parents did; it was a major family event.
Of the presidents elected in my lifetime, only two seemed young at their swearing in: Clinton and now Obama. The rest were well-seasoned when taking on their presidential role. Each man had faults and had to go through many rounds of trial and error before finding what they felt was right. President Obama will surely do the same.
As a parent and student, I have made every effort to include my children in this journey of the election of Obama. With a child in each level of school (elementary, junior and senior high schools), each is learning about the electoral process and the inauguration with different foci. Compared to the last presidential election, this one went much more smoothly. There was no big recount, no name-calling – even the campaigning seemed more amicable than in previous years. It is important that youths understand that choosing an elected official can be done without fighting words.
I asked a couple of children in my neighborhood what they thought of Obama. Their answers were sweet and simple. One child said he was nice because he is letting their grandma live with them so the girls will have cookies to eat, and the other child, (who is a little older), said Obama will be a good president because he is the first black president, which means he will have to work harder to make everyone believe in him.
As powerful as the position of president may be, the president is still human. Mistakes will be made, including some that may follow him for the rest of his life. Just as every leader before him has made mistakes, this one will also. President-elect Obama has an extremely daunting task ahead of him. Perhaps we, as a nation, can be a little less judgmental of our new president’s every move and allow him to work without ridicule.