Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Journey Ahead

Yesterday, for the first time in my 38-year-old life, someone who I believe to be worthy of the office in all respects became President of the United States. As a group, Americans time and again have displayed an almost uncanny inability to choose a decent president, but I honestly believe that we got this one right.

Although I have been an Obama fan for some time now, my confidence that he is the right person to be our president at this moment in history grew even stronger as I listened to his inaugural address. The first thing that he did as president was to tell the American people, gently but firmly, that we need to grow up. And he is right about that.

His version of "growing up" would involve each of us doing many things that may well have become unfamiliar -- things like choosing cooperation, both in our political landscape and our daily lives, instead of continually dividing ourselves out of fear, anger, and pride; choosing to seek enduring solutions to our personal and collective challenges, instead of searching for the fast yet fleeting "quick fix" that ultimately fixes nothing; choosing the true strength that comes from recognizing, and doing, what is right and just, instead of the pseudo-strength that comes from answering every challenge with arms and hubris; choosing to believe that our preservation and prosperity depend on the preservation and prosperity of others, instead of believing that only we matter in a zero-sum game; and choosing an overall attitude of goodness and hope, instead of maintaining a mindset in which bitterness and cynicism are the norm.

I think that Americans, individually and collectively, basically are good people who want to do good things. However, I think that we somehow have equated goodness with weakness in our collective mindset, and as a result we have adopted a kick-ass, me-first, us-versus-them attitude to convince ourselves and others (but mostly ourselves) of our strength. Our 44th president was telling us yesterday, I think much to our collective relief, that our goodness-equals-weakness premise is a wrongheaded one. He was telling us that we can be, and if we hope to remain a great country indeed we must be, good and strong simultaneously. That's what I think he ultimately means when he talks about "responsibility."

Yesterday, President Obama offered to guide this nation on a journey to discover, or maybe simply uncover, our greatest selves. Having finally elected someone who is willing and able to undertake this task, hopefully we will have the good sense to go along with him for the ride.

10 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

Here here! Well said, you!

And well done, President Obama!

I, too really hope people were able to take it in, all that he said. It feels so much like New Year's day today, doesn't it?

Onwards & upwards!

Angela said...

With citizens like you, Adrianne, and Reya, and all those other ones I have met via blogging, I doubt not that things will change for the better! I do think you have put it well and really understand what this change is all about, and I am glad I have "met" you and may count you among my friends!

e said...

Great perspective and comments. Nice to meet you, Adrianne!

ecrunner said...

arguments aside, I hope for your own sake and for our safety that you are right. I hope you all did get the right guy in there...

.. but no matter what your opinions are, watching yesterday (I saw bits and pieces via wireless internet) was an amazing thing to witness.

Barry said...

I know many were hoping for a speech full of memorable rhetoric, instead we got a request to put aside childish things and take up greater responsibility with gratitude.

I can't remember being more proud of a public figure.

Barbara said...

I just read Obama's speech for the first time, having been otherwise occupied for the past 2 days. It is very inspiring, I agree. The staff at Washington Hospital center are walking on cloud 9!

Merle Sneed said...

The man exudes a confidence that is contagious. I hope for the best.

tut-tut said...

I thought the entire proceeding was amazing: the speech, the music, the poem, the benediction!

I feel more hopeful than I have in quite a while.

Angela said...

Dear Adrianne, I just found your comment (Nr.16)on my older post, and I must say I swallowed hard. Yes, I wish I can be of help to you, though (as Fire Byrd just shared with us)it is our own path we have to find. I don`t think that at your age I was as "grown-up" as I am now. No, certainly not. It was actually only the last 10 years or so that really got me to understand what life is all about. So, wait and see! You are quite near, only THINKING too much still. But as long as you write us such wonderful thoughtful posts, I will not complain!

Linda Pendleton said...

Adrianne
I believe our President Obama's "ride" will be a good one. I am optimistic and have never been so much in favor of a person being our president. And my conscious view of presidents goes back to Eisenhower. I think we were all in desparate need of change and regaining a personal feel of "power," and I mean in a positive way, taking responsibility for what is happening to our country--and our place in the world. Hoefully respect will return.