“I am making a commitment to you as the next president, that we are going to make government work,” he told volunteers at Coolidge High. “But I can’t do it by myself. Michelle can’t do it by herself. Government can only do so much….If we’re waiting for someone else to do something, it never gets done.” – President-elect Barack Obama
When they met the Bushes at the White House today, Michelle Obama was carrying a gift.
When I listened to Karl Bernstein today one thing stood out. Talking about segregated Washington, D.C. and the shift that is happening today. The election of one man can make a difference, especially if that man is the African American named Barack Hussein Obama, the name he will use when he’s sworn in.
Last night on the “Daily Show,” Stewart had on Abderrahim Foukara of Arab Al Jazeera. The back and forth at the beginning of the interview was a classic. We did okay, didn’t we? We elected him? Are we cool now? Foukara laughed, but the message from Stewart came from us all.
The world loves Americans, but they’ve hated our government for many years now. That changes today.
…or so we hope.
Barack Obama has begun his presidency with grace, magnanimity and warnings of hard choices to come. Renewal and responsibility will be the watch words as he starts his first term, joined together in excitement and a charge to keep from the people who wait and watch.
Looking at the crowds in the city where I will soon live, a once segregated city, it reminds me of my youth in St. Louis at a time when Missouri was still very southern and still caught up in racial division and tensions. That’s how I relate to what Bernstein said today. I imagine the melting away of those divisions in a city that has held on to them for many years. To say I’m anticipating what awaits in Washington, D.C. is an understatement.
The Obamas obviously intend to be part of the city’s community. They will likely bring to D.C. a renaissance. That’s something I’ve seen happen before in a large city, when I lived in New York. It’s something to watch and I’ll be there to see it happen.
That’s why so many people are standing in freezing temperatures to witness Barack Obama become president. They want to witness, be present, for the swearing in of the man who will turn us towards the sun, leaving darkness at our back.
Rachel Maddow said today, that “if you’re a civics dork, this is bigger than Christmas.” But you don’t have to be a “civics dork” to feel that you’ve awaken on a morning excited about what you’ll get to see today. All you have to be is a citizen of the world who is praying for cooler leadership in these troubled times.
The real work of this nation, for all of us, begins today.