Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Age

It is nearly impossible to contextualize the importance of this moment. It is far more than just the inauguration of the first African-American president; more than just new leadership taking the helm in trying times; and it is much, much more than just patriotism. It is the end of an era and the beginning of a new age in America. Whenever this nation, the most powerful and prosperous in human history, changes leadership, it stirs in me an overwhelming sense of patriotism. But this time it is more. It’s rooted not in ideology, but rather in utter amazement by what this nation has accomplished in a relatively short time. And that we can once again rise to the occasion.

And although the inauguration of Barack Obama brings with it overtones that transcend government itself, it should be remembered that he is just one man. No one achieves greatness in isolation. In his inaugural address, Obama called upon us as individuals and as a nation to work together, to continue to make our nation a more perfect union. His eloquence reveals a confidence that is infectious. Words matter. Will his be enough to inspire a nation that is in the midst of crisis on so many fronts? Time will tell, but history is on our side. The great orators who have occupied his office have moved this nation to greatness time and time again.

We have a responsibility to lead the world. The principles Obama enumerated in his address are timeless, and they must be embodied not only in our doctrines, policies and rhetoric, but also in our actions. It is our example, not our words, which speak loudest. However, the inspiration that moves us to rise to meet our challenges comes from leaders who speak confidently, persuasively and definitively. One man can make a difference, but no man can do it alone. In Obama we have elected not just an African-American president, not just a Democrat and not just new leadership… we have chosen a man who has the ability to stir us to greatness.

They called Reagan the great communicator. Granted, but although he spoke with elegance and confidence, he did not bring the same charisma that, prior to Obama, has not been seen since Kennedy. Johnson didn’t have it, Nixon surely didn’t. Nor did Ford, Carter, Bush (either) and even Bill Clinton, a great speaker in his own rite, didn’t have it. Perhaps trying times produce those with the quality to move us, or maybe when the road gets rough we are more easily moved. It matters not; that time is now. The palpable feeling of unity that comes with this particular change of leadership is unmistakable, it is real and it is needed now.

America will endure, but will she prosper? Today I can say that I believe she will not only prosper, but very well could usher in a new age of peace, not just within our borders, but around the world as well. We can do this; we have the might and, now, we have the wisdom in our leadership. I am not one to jump on a bandwagon just because everyone else is, however, I recognized in Obama early on something that this nation desperately needs: competent, measured and intelligent leadership. It has nothing to do with his race and it has nothing to do with his political party… it’s all about his words and how he delivers them. Then it's up to us to act.


Lacey said...

Obama's words were quite unifying, and laid the groundwork for his political agenda. I hope Congress backs his policies so he can get things done... and I heard Obama say it's our responsibility to make sure our leaders know we want his policies supported.

I enjoy carrying that responsibility for once. Yesterday that responsibility was a bitter, "it's-all-I-can-do" task, one that made me feel powerless in the face of corruption. Today it gives me power in the face of corruption, and I'm not quite sure why.

I'm so proud that my son will be born into the era of this nation where measured words and decent values win hearts.

Ellen said...

".....it's all about his words and how he delivers them"... and that makes all the difference.

We have all heard good words before, and heard them from good and decient people. What matters is the measure of heart you can extract from them. This wonderful man has the ability, willingness, wit, and stamina to bring our country out of bleak times... of this I am sure.

If he has the backing of the American people, as he deserves, there is nothing our country cannot do for the security of our future generations. As long as we can appeal to our better angels, as he asks, nothing is impossible.

It doesn't take just a village today, it takes a nation, and aren't we smarter for having stepped up in just one day?
Let's hope we can hold onto this euphoria and make the difference that both conservatives and liberals can feel proud of. We are all born again Americans today, and we've waited a long time to feel this way.

....just my opinion.

kenju said...

Excellent, Mike! I agree, and you said it much better than I could.

awareness said...

Amen! Beautifully written Mike. I love reading your commentaries, especially your political posts...they build in intensity and flow so well.

I couldn't agree more with what you've stated here. I sat in the cold snow packed parking lot of my office building listening to Obama's speech and somehow felt a part of a movement of action....somehow felt connected to the millions of others pulled in by his inspired words. I couldn't help but shake my head at the enormous change that has happened in the minds and hearts of many who until recently were so turned off and uninterested, and now are motivated and charged up to take part in the action needed to turn things around.

May the sun shine down on Barack Obama as he forges ahead.

Bobkat said...

"Competent, measured and intelligent leadership" - amen to that! I'm not a US citizen but I can confirm that it is not just in your country that Obama has given renewed hope. I hope he restores the confidence in the US that has been lost in the global arena. I have confidence that you have a leader, at last, that can take the nation with him and inspire yu all to rise to the occasion.

One little thing though Mike. Being British I would argue with your statement that the US is "the most powerful and prosperous in human history". Us Brits once coloured most of the globe pink ;)

I am glad you are feeling buoyed by what is happening right now in your country. It's palpable :) I hope we get such a leader rather than the buffoon who is running amok at the moment.

Snaggle Tooth said...

I too have dared to hope that the world will be a better place because of the smart, new prez. Let's hope the House n Senate go along for the changes too-

Anonymous said...

i had to write a piece for my column in the local paper - this is so much better... wonderful stuff Mike

i did conclude with these words though - hope you approve

'Welcome back from rehab America, we are watching now for all the right reasons.'

Michael K. Althouse said...


I absolutely approve. It feels like we come out of the dark over here as well.

mw said...

I live in Minnesota, and am rather appalled at what is going on here in the senatorial race. It gives me little hope that corruption is a thing of the past. It would be nice to believe that the partisanship has gone away, but from what I'm seeing it just looks like the same thing with different players.

I truly, truly hope you are right Mike. It is far more important that those who have power show grace rather than wield the power to get their way.

Thank you for the well written and well though out post. It's good to know there are people like you in this world :).

David Edward said...

your last line is the most important, i think.
"It is up to us to act"
I think it never really comes to who is on top of the pile, but rather how diligent the people are about protecting and p[reserving the constitution and the freedom we enjoy.
have a good weekend
Netchick sent me.

Dale Challener Roe said...

Maybe it's just the age I grew up in. I've never seen a politician I could trust with my kid's lunch money, and I'm tired of giving them the benefit of the doubt. Obama's been given a free ride so far, but now he's got to prove himself.

I hope he does. But I'm tired of believing before I've seen something concrete.

NetChick sent me...

Ginnie said...

You articulated exactly the way that I feel about our new administration. I pray that it can become reality. I am old enough to have seen the ups and downs of our nation and this even tops what it was like when JFK was first in office.
I just hope that the young people of this generation (who seem to expect everything to be given to them.) will realize that "giving", instead of "taking" will bring untold rewards, both for them and for the world.
I also pray that our elected officials can put aside their egos and come together to build a new type of U.S.A. under Obama. It's there for us to grab if we can only get out of ourselves and honestly care for others...world-wide as well as here.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I am so hopefully and happy that we are in this time of change. I can FEEL it in the air. The city is buzzing here, still, days after the speeches are over. It's a GOOD time to be an American... for a change! Tanya sent me over today and I'm mighty glad she did! Have a great weekend and stop by if you get a chance!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

NetChick sent me today, Mike....And I so agree! This man has something "special"....One saw it in 2004 at the convention, and as time has gone on, he has proven himself the leader we need right now. Very Very Inspiring!

Pat said...

One gets that universal feeling of hope which I remember with J F Kennedy. I believe people all around the world have the same uplifted feeling. God bless him and his family and keep him safe.
Lovely to be here again - thanks to Tanya

The Zombieslayer said...

Well, changing the subject a little, you got some good taste in music. I was just listening to your stuff while doing something else. I think Golden Earring, Sammy Hagar's Heavy Metal, and a few other good songs came on.

We'll see about Obama. The guy can speak. I'm not too crazy about some of his policies but I'm hoping he understands economics better than GWB (which doesn't say much). I'm pretty confident that our standing with the world will be better under Obama though. GWB managed to alienate just about everyone, including half of our allies.

Kathleen Jennette said...

Each one of us makes a difference. We are a nation of "we can do it". We can. We will.
On another note... cheers to your son! I love him already for supporting this great nation!
On another another note... I see you have some Van Halen here. I have some friends: Hot For Teacher a Van Halen tribute band that are from Northern California. Go see them. They sound just like the real dudes. You will have a great evening. They were down here for NAMM and it was a blast.