Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration celebrations, hurry up!

Impossible as it is to spend a waking hour without someone mentioning Barack Obama and the Inauguration, I'm not caught up in the excitement.

Yes, I took notice of his choice to ride a train through several major towns and give speeches on his way to Washington D.C. It reminded me of FDR and his special train -- the Ferdinand Magellan-- which is housed in a museum here in Florida. And more than that it reminds me of my uncle, Homer Guyton, who was the engineer driving the train once for then President Eisenhower. His moment of fame perhaps, but I think Uncle Homer was more excited about Marilyn Monroe visiting him in the cab and sounding the train's whistle.

It seems, for many, to be appropriate that Obama will take the vow to protect and defend our country on the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The emphasis on race seems old fashioned to me. As we move forward race seems secondary to education, ability, wisdom, knowledge, leadership qualities. More important to me is that this is a man of the world -- a father from Kenya -- raised in part in ***Venezuela by grandparents brought up on the determination and humility taught in Kansas or was it Oklahoma. But he came into his own, molded by the power and pride and swagger that only belongs to Chicago.

It was interesting to hear one of the pundits describe Mr. Obama in meetings. It isn't a bunch of hangers on trying to garner favor with him, tell him what he wants to hear, agree with him. Instead, the man described a typical discussion with everyone contributing to the conversation to move it forward to finding solutions. And then he said something I hadn't really put into words for myself before but knew it to be true. Barack Obama's self esteem does not rest on being the one with the right answer. He has no ego involved in discussion. What he does seem to want most of all is to find the best solution to each and every problem.

The next time I vote for a president on any elected official, I will pay closer attention to where his or her ego lies. Is it imperative that he be 'right'? Or is it more important to find the right solution regardless of whose idea it may be? Seems like a good test and better than many we've used in the past. Much better than 'cute ass.'

So, I am rather frustrated and anxious to get past all of this celebration and on to the day after, the week after, the month after. I so desperately want Mr. Obama to be all that we think and hope and pray he is. He likes the comparison to Lincoln. Which brings up something that Ms. Kerns Goodwin mentioned recently. "Anyone who studies Lincoln becomes a better person."

It seemed like a weird thing to say, but she added that any researcher who has ever made Lincoln the focus of their work has mentioned that. She felt it as well. He makes everyone seek to be a better person simply by association with him, his words, his actions, his humility. I wonder if he had been placed on this earth with a different face -- a beautiful face -- would he have turned out differently?

I think Mr. Obama could certainly have chosen worse men to emulate than Lincoln or even FDR. Although I often think the best one of the Roosevelts is still Eleanor. I think FDR was a better man by association with her. But, I digress.

Although, maybe what Mr. Obama found in Chicago that transformed him or brought him to the realizations he now lives by, is named Michelle. She does remind me of the strong black woman of slavery and poverty who keeps her family together and protected. I understand that Mr. Obama will be living with two strong African American women -- his mother-in-law is moving into the White House, too.

It takes a strong man to live in that household. And I have confidence those two, plus his daughters will not hesitate to tell him when he's behaved stupidly. Ahhh yes, I'm looking forward to the day AFTER the inauguration. And the next four years. It is a strange, foreign feeling, one I hadn't felt for more than a decade. Maybe I haven't felt it since John F. Kennedy was elected. It is a new day and I pray a good day for all of us.

***As was pointed out by Bob in his comment, I misspoke -- Obama did live for a time in Indonesia, NOT Venezuela. And according to Wikipedia, he lived there with his mother and his stepfather. I apologize for NOT doing my homework!

1 comment:

Bob Sanchez said...

Hi Dawn,
Thoughtful post. Did Obama really live in Venezuela, or did you mean to say Indonesia?

In any case, the glow will wear off his presidency in time, the hoopla will die down, and people will begin holding his actions up for close scrutiny. That will be healthy for the country and for his administration.

Bob Sanchez