January 20, 2009
A trip to the grocery store. Dinner at Aubrey's. Tom's birthday. A snow day. ...and a new President. Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in just after noon today as America's 44th president. Why is this one different from the previous 43? What about Barack Obama's inauguration attracted over one million people to Washington, D.C. just so they could say they were there?
I wasn't even born when JFK was sworn in, but I'd venture to guess that the Obama presidency has as much, or more, promise as the days of "Camelot." Today was filled with emotion for me. Watching George W. Bush pass the torch to Barack Obama made me wonder; what must Bush be thinking? Is he relieved to be out of the spotlight? Is he thankful that he will no longer be the butt of every late night talk show host's jokes? Was it hard to take down pictures and pack up personal belongings from the White House? Does he leave feeling that he did the best he could as president? Say what you wish about George W. Bush; the man has class. His wife is a true, gracious lady. The abuse he suffered over the past few years was enough to make the kindest person bitter, angry and defensive, but not W. I'm sure the critics will make a joke out of it, but he always spoke with kindness and an ease of spirit in the harshest situations. He saw our country through many tragedies- September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, The Gulf War, and the defeat of Sadaam Hussein. George W. Bush does not deserve to be spat upon by the citizens of this great country; he deserves our respect. I believe he made the best decisions he could based on the information that was made available to him. Granted, some of the information was inaccurate and resulted in serious errors in judgement. I'm ashamed when I hear people malign George W. Bush. I refuse to repay evil for evil and treat Barak Obama with the disrespect that was shown to Bush.
So here we are. America's first black/African-American president. Actually, he's bi-racial, but who cares about the hyphens anyway? A lot of us do. We take pride in our unique heritage. We embrace our "melting pot" culture...until it causes us to be treated differently from others. I am a Boring-American. My ancestors were Europeans who probably came over on the Mayflower. I'm a blonde, white girl born and raised in the South. My eyes are blue and my parents and grandparents stayed married to eachother their entire lives. To my knowledge, I have no abuse in my family. We don't drink to excess or use illegal or prescription drugs. I have never "inhaled." Why do I feel the need to apologize for this? Am I a minority now? Do I get special rights and privileges that others are denied? Am I entitled too? I hope not.
As I watched the Obama family make their way to steps of the Capital, I was struck by the incredible strength of our nation. We are different, but we are Americans. This is a great country, founded on ideals that others deemed impossible to uphold. "In God we trust." Let's pray we continue to trust in the One who has poured His blessing out upon this nation.
But what do I know? I'm just a middle-aged wife, mother, and middle school teacher...who loves this country very, very much.