First up, the issue of race. I am glad that the issues Martin Luther King Jr. fought so hard for were finally seen through to such an extent, and what a tribute to him for this to culminate the day after we observed his birth. For a group of people who had to fight for their freedom, their right to own property, their right to vote, etc, it is truly a marvelous day when one of their own is sworn in to lead our nation. I will feel the same way when we elect a woman to the White House.
Perhaps now we, as a nation, can finally move past the race issue. I cannot begin to tell you how it frustrates me when race is brought into an otherwise neutral context. This happens in both positive and negative connotations, when really race should serve no other purpose than to be a physical identifier. Skin color should be treated with the same regard as hair color or eye color. We are all HUMANS, each with varied pasts and histories, but PEOPLE first and foremost. I hope that since we have seen an African American elected to the highest position in the land, we can move beyond this and get down to the business of seeing one another as a PERSON, and not a RACE.
Second, and really I think my bigger problem with yesterday's activities - the hype. The hoopla. And yes, I realize that my posting on this subject is just further feeding into it. I can accept that. No need to call me a hypocrite. Let's begin by clearing the air on a few things, just so you can see where I am coming from.
- I agree that this country is in awful shape right now.
- I agree that something needs to be done to fix it.
- I agree that sometimes that repair work can only come from a wholesale, broad and sweeping change in the way that the government carries out its duties. This can, and usually does, include changes in which political party controls the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
- I do have faith and hope in things getting better in this country. There are a very few ways in which it could get worse, and yet each of those ways is very serious and quite upsetting.
I think it is ... unrealistic ... unfair ... and yes, even wrong ... to place all of our nation's hope on one single man.
Unrealistic: He cannot make these changes by himself. Our government was designed with checks and balances to prevent this. Even with the Democrats having the majority control in the rest of Washington, Barack Obama cannot single-handedly fix everything that is wrong with our country.
Unfair: All of these hopes, dreams, and expectations are A LOT of weight to place on one man's shoulders. I think it's a bit unfair to him, as a simple human being, to suggest that he can right all the wrongs we are facing.
Wrong, version 1: In order for this country to come back and turn around from the place where it is at right now, we need every man, woman and child to STEP UP. Do not expect one man, or even all of the politicians in Washington, to fix this. Each of us needs to step up and lend a hand. To expect that the new leadership we have in this country can make everything all better is to do a severe injustice to both the people who founded our nation, as well as the threads of patriotism and the American spirit that linger in the hearts of our citizens.
Wrong, version 2: (This one is probably a point that will get me "in trouble" with some of you out there. So be it. Again, these are only my thoughts and opinions. Take them, or leave them - just be sure you respect them.) I think that the hype and sensationalism I witnessed yesterday via various media outlets borders on idolatry. As in, "Thou shalt not have any other gods before me." You may think I'm off my rocker, but think about it. The media attention and the reactions of the individuals interviewed left a sour taste in my mouth because it resembled some bizarre celebrity adoration or cult following. I found myself wondering if this is how some of the world's most notorious dictators and general all-around bad guys got their followers. It comes back to the thoughts I expressed above regarding having hope in one single man.
Personally, I have hope and faith in the American spirit and the American people, but my greatest faith lies with the Lord because I know that He has a plan for me and for each of his sons and daughters. I have faith that He (uppercase "H", the Lord) will get me through this rough patch, and I choose not to place that faith with him (lowercase "h", Obama).
Wrong, version 3: (Yep, again, I know that you won't / don't all agree with me.) I think it's a bit premature to be doing all of this celebrating. Let's see what Obama can get accomplished. Let's see where we are in 6 months, 12 months, 4 years. If our nation is in a better place at that point than it currently is, that is a time for celebrating. If anything, I feel like we should be cautious and guarded... have a bit of a nervous apprehension. For instance, the healthy and normal apprehension that comes when you are a new parent letting someone babysit your child for the first time, or when you let someone borrow your brand new dream car for a spin around the block. If we can honestly say that our country is in a better place 4 years from now, throw him one doozie whizz-bang of an inauguration celebration for his second term. But for now, cautious optimism is about all that I think he deserves.
One last time, these are only my opinions, and I ask that you respect them and me. I encourage comments, and am curious to know what other people are thinking. I actually kind of wish I had a bigger readership so that there could be more of a dialogue about what I've said here. I realize my views are different from many of my friends and readers, but that's what makes our country so wonderful. I can have my thoughts, and so can you.
One last thing: I'll be away from tomorrow morning until late Saturday. Do not be alarmed by my lack of response to any comments left behind - I'll respond when I get back.