01 January 2009

Welcome to the Age of Obama

It could be argued that the Age of Obama started back in November when he won the election, or in the succeeding weeks where he has offered more leadership than the sitting president, but I like clean lines, and the first day of 2009 seems like a fitting starting point. The Obamas will move to Washington DC this weekend so the girls can start school on Monday.

As a DC resident, I couldn't be more excited to welcome them. It sure will be a change from the last eight years and the Bushs' overwhelming desire to be anywhere other than our fair city. It is telling that Obama has created an office that will focus on urban issues, and unlike his Republican adversaries doesn't think that cities are the root of all evil and use them as wedge issue. It drove me crazy during the campaign whenever Sarah Palin talked about bringing small town values to Washington. I have nothing against small town values, I grew up in a small town. But what Palin, in her clueless ignorance, didn't understand is that the Washington she was talking about--official Washington--is full of small town folks just like her. The House of Representatives is a bastion of small town values, 435 Congressmen and Congresswomen either from small towns or representing the often parochial and self-serving interests of their districts. These are some of the folks that make up the Washington she was talking about. Her limited world view would certainly have done nothing to improve the less than ideal characteristics of small town politics as they impact national policy. Not to belittle small town values, but trying to score political points by pitting small towns against larger urban areas is not a positive way to move our country forward.

With so much going wrong at the moment it will be nice to have a president who is ready and willing to apply his intellectual energy to the task at hand. With the glaring example of George W. Bush, every president in my memory (Gerald Ford forward) has at least taken the job seriously. Of course when you layer W's incompetence on top of his apathy you have a marvelous recipe for failure which explains a lot about the past eight years.

As regular readers of MyPorch already know, I am huge fan of Barack Obama (despite being an early Hillary supporter). I fully agree with Colin Powell's assessment that Obama is a transformational figure. Even with my predisposition toward our future President, I must say I am still surprised at how impressed I am with Obama's first book Dreams from My Father which I picked up for the first time yesterday. Not only is he a good writer but his life experience is so much more reflective of a 21st-century American than the usual suspects in American presidential politics. He is the right person at the right time and I can't wait to see what America becomes in the next eight years.

So despite the terrible economy, the senseless violence around the world, and the continued environmental degradation of our planet, I am wildly hopeful about the future and the ability of Barack Obama to inspire and lead us to be more than what we have been.

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