How We Are Going to Get Through This

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I love NPR, but I just couldn’t stand to listen to it by the end of October 2008. I think that politics are important to know about and are sometimes very interesting, but I don’t love politics and I just couldn’t stand to hear about the election anymore!

Finally, December came and I was able to come back to my beloved public radio. Now, like I said, I don’t love politics and I do not really follow our government that closely, but there is something very different about politics in 2009. The American air is different. How can there be so much joy during such a hard time? I live in Michigan for goodness sake—even the wealthy people in Michigan are having a rough time—and yet there are high spirits everywhere.

I was pleased that President Obama won the election, but I never felt that strongly about him. Sure his campaign was all about change and hope and whatever, but to me he was just another politician. Just another Kennedy. But when the inauguration day came, everything seemed to be different. Even at a young age, I’ve always had this opinion that America was going to hell in a hand basket. I have always wanted to live abroad and thought it would probably be best to live far away the “American Dream” with cheeseburgers and football, hummers, and American Idol. All of that went out the window that historic morning.

When President Obama made his speech, for the first time I had a deep American pride. I thought about how lucky I was to be born here and what a privilege it was to be alive that day and witness the occasion. In that moment, I wished that I had paid more attention in school to the history of our country or taken more American history classes in college. And most of all, I felt this welling up in my stomach. At first I thought I was going to cry, but that wasn’t quite it. There were these deep inebriating feelings that seemed to—if only for a moment—help me forget all the problems I had that day. For the first time in quite a while, I had hope.

When the camera surveyed the attendees of the inauguration I saw that they felt the same way I did. I knew that it was going to be different from now on, somehow. But … wait a minute … why? What made this so special? Is Obama godlike? Is he the Messiah? Did he have an unbelievably brilliant plan to end all war and starvation and miraculously bring his country out of a horrible recession? No. So what is this thing!

There is a fairly well known African-American journalist who helped me come up with my own conclusion. The son of two African nationalists, he said that when Obama won the election, it helped him trust white people. Now, I’m sorry that he actually grew up homogenizing all white people (and all black people for that matter), but this—this—is what President Obama is doing for his country. The mere fact that his being in office is changing our outlook and our hearts is enough for change in our country. Which is probably best, right? I’ve always believed in the people above the government. The French Revolution is more than enough of an example. How lucky we are that our government is putting the future in our hands (at least in comparison to the rest of the world). This was all I had to say. This is all I understand on the subject. We have had many eras and revolutions in our young country, but this is an Era of Hope. Let’s get going!


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