I am absolutely overwhelmed by everything that took place on Inauguration Day and I say that as an aging cynic.  My father was a lowly soldier in city machine politics.  I’ve known from birth how the game is played, how the cards are dealt and how the deal goes down.  Working in the news business for more than 40 years, my cynicism has been reinforced every day.  I’ve seen the bright-eyed neophytes shot down, the brainy thinkers steam rolled, the truly needy cast aside with the powerless others.  That’s the routine of politics–that’s the day-to-day reality.  But then once in a great while comes a defining moment—the exception to the rule—a moment that gives you a little bit of hope that they’re not all charlatans trying to line their pockets and accommodate their rich friends.  Rarely—very, very rarely—comes an occasion when the cynic is moved to think there might be another way that we might be governed.   I have had that feeling exactly twice.   The first time was in 1960, when John F. Kennedy proclaimed that the torch had been passed to a new generation.  He was talking about his generation (he was 43) but I felt he was talking about mine (I was 13).   JFK made government service cool.  He infused service to America with a status that a number of subsequent presidents have shot down.  Federal workers have been told for years they are part of a bloated bureaucracy that’s a burden on rich people trying to become richer.  I think national service got a big lift at Barack Obama’s inauguration.   I believe that, for the first time since JFK. Obama inspired young people to give some thought to serving their fellow citizens through public service.  He has sent a surge of energy into the populace unmatched since January 20, 1960.  I was deeply moved by the events of Inauguration Day and I will be happy to unburden myself of decades of cynicism if this feeling lasts another week, a month or a year.  I will give Obama time, because no one since FDR has been left with such a big load of crap to deal with.  If he screws up, I’ll give him the same treatment I’ve given George W. Bush.  But for now, the honeymoon is underway, and who’s not in the mood to enjoy a honeymoon?   January 20, 2009 was a very good day.   Let’s hope we have many more like it!



One Reply to “1/20/2009”

  1. There’s a headiness not felt in decades as we look around and see ourselves actually inspired to do something more than watch passively while we come to terms with the sins of our past administration. This power can’t be overestimated. It’s the triumph of the common man, common woman, over the "haves and have-mores’" who thought their influence would hold sway forever. A huge weight has been lifted off our dignity, allowing the sweetness of creativity to rise up in our very beings. I pray that we cherish this blessing, and not allow our newfound energy to be flattened out by the nay-sayers.

    Already I’ve received a swarm of negative emails lambasting Obama, and he hasn’t even been in office one week. For those who want to barrage him with their sectarian agendas, I say give the man a chance. Would your company be able to turn around its fortunes if certain factions chose to disrupt its daily business instead of concentrating their efforts towards working together as a team? Yes, many issues need to be addressed, but until our country can stand on its feet again, special interests should be willing to back off and let our new President do what he does best: organize, inspire, and utilize the one remaining force that’s been relegated to the sidelines during the reign of the Great Pirates–our people.

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