When was the last time you were excited about, much less arranged your schedule to watch, a Presidential Inauguration?
When was the last time you were excited about a President?
...you looked forward to a speech?
...we were ONE nation -- under God, under stress, under-achieving, yet understanding we are stronger and better when we are together.*
...a President was not just on 50 magazine covers on the shelves, but also t-shirts without rude puns, games and puzzles, children's picture books? Cereal aisle, make room for the best selling Wheaties box of all time...
When was the last time I used paper and pen to write more words than a grocery list?
Why do we deify the man (my bad: The Man) before he even gets to sit as his new desk? Our adoration and anticipation is unlike our usual pop culture driven manner, to raise someone high in order to sit back and watch the spectacularly crushing and devastating fall -- usually on YouTube. No, we really, really, want Barack Obama to stay on that pedestal. We want and need him to exceed our expectations, if that's even possible, for him to pin our hopes high and then hold us up so we can actually reach them. Americans thrive on confidence, on momentum that carries through a tough stretch in the schedule. Obama is going to need those People magazine-able basketball abs and broad shoulders, because he may age quicker and deeper than any President -- the weight on his heart, his brow, his carry-a-nation back will gray his hair and line his face before our hope-filled eyes.
Barack Obama has more hyperbole draped over him than bunting on the Capital, but how soon will it fade? We don't want him to fail. But we don't need him to be FDR + JFK = Lincoln with good looks and the black vote, we just need him to stay the (true) course, to maintain our national values, as insanely diverse and diametrically opposed as some of them they may seem. We need him to hold us to our "that's what makes America great" creed: work hard, move forward, look out for each other, take pride. We need him to uphold our ideas even if everything doesn't turn around overnight, from worst-to-first in a Cinderella story first 100 days. Our nation needs to be lead so it can stop focusing on our failures (don't just blame Bush: he was ours, so his are ours, and always will be) and prime our attention on present and future successes. We have always followed our leaders closely, in that when they looked back over their shoulders we were right there, breathing the same air.
Moses. The Saviour. The Change. The Dream Fulfilled. There have been more capital letters used in describing and defining Obama then when listing Michael's Jordan's MVPs,** which is appropriate, given the hoops, the Chicago, the age****, and the iconic smile connecting the two. In more ways than one Barack Obama can become our first Presidential "superstar" -- while Clinton played the pop star, bringing a sense of cool to the White House lacking since, and decidedly, generationally, different than, the Kennedy reign, Obama has the Jordan-esque swagger, the detached, confident cool that can lead his team not just through the tough times but through all opposition to the trophy presentation. But never forget, he is a politician. And a
Mr. Obama, the words to describe why I am scribbling at 2am***** and eagerly anticipating your Presidency can be read as trite, generic, even devoid of real meaning. But you and I can still use these words and lend them the weight they need to stand out in our bleak, strained world, the credence required to be heard above the din of all other words and be repeated by an exponentially increasing collection of voices: Hope. Change. Together.
*In 2001 of course: The country at its most shocked and grievous, President Bush at his most Presidential, all bonded in a singular, searing moment.
** Five. So 5 x 3, plus 6 in the Finals... why am I doing the math, it's a metaphor!***
**** The President is only 2 years older than MJ. But is 2 years younger than expatriate ex-King of Pop MJ, who is 50!
***** ...and typing, not very well i'm sure, at 3:21. goodnight.