A spark was generated on November the 4th of last year and an electricity has been pulsing through this country ever since, finally reaching its climax at the presidential inauguration one week ago. The nation has become invigorated, excited, ready for the future. Most any person would tell you they can feel a shift in the mood and attitude of America, but I bet they couldn’t tell you why.
Because there really is no concrete reason why. What has been done to change our situation? Where was the spike in the stock market? What major policies have been enacted? Where are our troops? It’s amazing that so much hope can spring from one notion. That the thoughts of an entire race of people can be transformed not by facts or statistics or optimistic reports- thoughts are changed by that very idea itself: change.
Watching all the Inauguration Day activities I was overwhelmed with excitement. People crying, hugging, chanting, dancing, running down the streets… At some point I thought about what this scene would have been like if it were not Obama’s inauguration, but McCain’s. I just don’t think the picture would look same. Sure, there is a strong distaste in many mouths over the past administration and even McCain would represent some form of change, but just having something a little different was not a solution to such a big problem. We needed the antithesis of the old status quo and an impressively intelligent, African-American Democrat who can coherently make a speech is so different than what we’ve had the past 8 years.
There’s really no need to go into policy discussions to prove my point about why Barack Obama is so good for this country. It doesn’t matter right now. All we know is that past policies aren’t working. In reality, who knows what the promises of our new President will bring? Nothing has been tested. We’re in no better position today than we were on January 19th- so why does it feel like we are? I guess sometimes, when things get so bad, there’s really no solution other than change. No need to work out the problem in your head, to spend countless hours figuring out the best solution- just change.
Who knows, in 4 years we could very well be where some skeptics warn us we’ll be. They say Obama is spitting out empty promises. Some say his policies won’t work. But I don’t think any of that matters right now. No matter where we are in 4 years, I don’t believe it’s possible to regret the decision that was made in our democratic election. What we needed was one and a half million Americans in Washington, D.C. showing their support for our government. We needed people who for most of their lives never thought twice about country allegiance to end up for a brief 10 seconds on ABC News talking about how grateful they are to be American.
The United States was once a very proud country. We were cool. We were popular. But even when you’re not in High School it’s hard to stay cool when you’ve been wearing the same wardrobe for 8 years. Last week we changed into a new outfit. I don’t know how long these clothes will stay in style and there isn’t even any proof we chose the right outfit. But for now, we look good. We feel good. We're confident. For the first time in many years, we are proud. And when you’ve been down and out so long, sometimes that’s all that matters.