Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration hoopla

I, for one, am happy that the inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th president is over. Over the last few days, but especially yesterday and today, I have felt like it's been shoved down my throat. Just today our local newspaper had something like 15 articles related to the inauguration. I've never really gotten into any inauguration, though I am fully aware of the historical significance of this one. Even with that, the event wasn't all that significant to me, so being in class as it was happening was no big deal at all. Some of my classmates watched via the Internet during our lunchbreak, but I passed. Pretty much everything President Obama does will be historical and there will be tons of "firsts." While I am happy that we have at least appeared to reach a point in our nation's history where someone can be elected without regard to race or gender (I guess we're still working on electing a woman...), I don't think we're quite where we need to be, nor do I think this election was some kind of turning point. Blacks have tried to run for the presidency before, particularly recently. Alan Keyes and Jesse Jackson come to mind right away. Unfortunately for them, all who had run up to now weren't popular enough to become serious contenders. Was it purely because of racism that they were unsuccessful? I don't think so as there are many reasons why they weren't elected (personality, idealogy, etc., just like all the white guys who also ran and didn't make it out of the primaries), though I'm not naive enough to believe that racism has disappeared from American life (from ALL races, not just whites) or that it didn't affect the choices of some voters. Nothing has been stopping blacks from running, but we just didn't have one who was very charismatic or far-reaching beyond a small pocket of voters. I mean, come on, if Jesse Jackson is the best you can do, you have some major issues!

Now it is true that I did not vote for Obama, so that added to my lack of interest in the inauguration. Call it sour grapes or being a sore loser, but just remember: I voted for Bush in both 2000 and 2004 and did not watch the inauguration for him either. One big reason I really wasn't interested is because more and more I get the feeling that many who voted for Obama did so because of his race. I'm getting that from all the emphasis on his race-- versus his qualifications-- in him getting elected. People seem to be more proud of him being black than actually being qualified to be president. Sorry, if it's wrong to not vote for someone because of their race, why is it OK to vote for someone because of their race? Now, let me state again that I truly hope I am wrong about his qualifications and what lies ahead. So far I haven't been overly impressed with Obama, but I haven't been overly bothered by his actions either. He seems to at least give the impression of someone who wants to do what is right for everyone (a more "centrist" stand) and appears less concerned with going along with the far-left that seems to be controlling Congress. Even with that, his silence on the recent Israel-Gaza conflict was deafening. What's interesting is the Arabs now aren't so warm on Obama (he's already had efigys of him burned in the Middle East!). I think Obama is quickly learning that 1) you can't please everyone; and 2) it's one thing to campaign, but it's an entirely different thing to govern and fulfill campaign promises.

I think the deepest reason I wasn't into this inauguration specifically (besides having it shoved down my throat on a daily basis) was that it represents something entirely different to me. During the campaign, I remember seeing people who didn't support Obama labeled as racist as if the only reason to not support Obama's bid to the presidency was simply because of his racial background. It couldn't possibly be disagreements over ideology or lack of national or executive experience, no, people who didn't agree with Obama and supported McCain were just close-minded bigots who hate and oppress black people. With that in mind, I wonder how much that will carry over into the presidency. Will any dissent instantly be labeled as racism? Are we allowed to disagree with President Obama without being labeled as anti-black? I wonder. I also found it ineteresting that liberals were the ones always bringing up the race issue in accusing supporters of McCain of simply being anti-black. I remember reading an entire blog post after the election that analyzed voter trends and "experts" concluded it "proved" racism even without anything beyond simple demographic data of which groups supported each candidate this election and last. Maybe it was racism, but maybe it wasn't. And no, white people are not the only ones capable of being racist. Some of the most racist things I have seen in my life have been towards white people.

I've seen a lot of optimism lately-- at least from liberals-- and that is good psycologically. Lately all we've been getting is bad news, so it's only human nature to hope for and want better things down the road. But with that I've also seen unbridled idealism and people completely out of touch with reality. Seriously, how many people were already saying what a great job Obama was doing when he hadn't DONE anything? I have read some articles talking about the incredibly high expectations Obama is coming into and that he's "sure to disappoint." I see it as a lot of people are willing to look past it. After all, many were easily willing to look past Obama's lack of experience not only in the Senate, but also his complete lack of ANY executive experience. I see many simply seeing the magnitude of the situation and will kind of give him a "free pass" for much of his first term. Heck, most have been blaming Bush for everything under the sky that's bad for the last 8 years, what's another 4? What people need to realize is that the President of the United States is not God, nor is he a dictator or monarch. He has powers, but many limitations. As extraordinary as the circumstances are that Obama steps into, so too are many of the circumstances President Bush had to deal with which no one seems to give him a "free pass" on and that he is somehow to blame for. You know: terrorist attacks on American soil and the War on Terror,Hurricane Katrina, and not to mention economic trials from around the world. No, the trials we face as a nation and a world are no more the work of one man than they can be fixed by one man (outside of Jesus Christ himself!). I hope people will understand that and judge both Obama and Bush according to the circumstances and not simply use hindsight or assume that a president can simply order whatever they want. It doesn't work that way. No one is perfect.

OK, the inauguration is over and no, I DO NOT care about every movement the Obamas make! Can we just move on and get to business?!?

God Bless America!


Unknown said...

Well said!

Mickell Gehret said...

AMEN! I am so sick of hearing about it all. Really, it is such a big deal because the COLOR of his SKIN. . .get over it already. Maybe now that a Black man is President, things can fianlly be equal...Ooohh I know where we can start... start a WHITE man college fund!!

Becky said...

I'm right with you. I think his plans for our country aren't all that fabulous. However, the government IS supposed to fall before Christ comes, and if Obama can make that happen any faster, Hail to the Chief!

BTW...if you are not talking about something that belongs to the Obamas, there is no apostrophe. (Every move the Obamas make)

Jon said...

Thanks, typo there...problem fixed. By the way, where does it day the government will fall? I remember a quote from Elder Packer that the U.S. government won't fall (or something along those lines), not to mention the whole "church saving the constitution" thing.

Granny J said...

Cadie told me her Art Prof. actually asked the class when the inaugruation was and when told it was on Tuesday he asked, "Are you sure? I don't feel any different."

One of the students had taken a picture of the American flag and he passed it by, quickly, because it was 'political'!

This scares this really the attitude in our "schools of higher learning"? I'm not totally unaware of how things wonder our younger generations are so confused and sad.

Thanks for being outspoken and telling it like it is!