Wednesday, January 21, 2009

thoughts on our new president

Am I obsessed with politics? Hardly.

Do I have any idea what I'm talking about when it comes to government? Not usually.

Do I pretend to know what I'm talking about? Never.

Modern society runs on specialization. Division of labor. Trade. I do not specialize in politics. I specialize in teaching English and running and, um, I'm really not sure what else. So you specialize in politics and I will specialize in whatever it is I specialize in (like ending sentences with a preposition). And thus I play my part in making sure society remains in balance. That's how it works, right? Follow me, people. Pay attention.

Considering the range of people who read my blog, I'm sure you could all debate Obama's political agenda 'til the cows come home. Spare me.

So here are my English-teaching-running-whatever-else thoughts on President Obama: I am thrilled. What I am most thrilled about is how excited people are about him. There is electricity in the air. That may sound trite to some of you, but trust me--this is not just because I like to jump on bandwagons. (I like to jump on bandwagons?)

Like many other countries, we have a history of slavery. We have a history of oppression. We have a history of civil rights movements. And while we have taken many steps forward, racial conflict is still very much present in our country. To many people, seeing our country elect a black president means that we are one step closer to judging people not "by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

You could say Obama was elected solely due to the color of his skin and not the content of his character, but I think you would be mistaken. The color of his skin played a huge role, but people like what he stands for--people have hope in him.

I thought the best part of the inauguration was Reverend Lowery's benediction. If you didn't hear it, you can read it here. "With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream." When the lamb shall lie down with the lion...

President Obama is no miracle worker. He cannot possibly fix every problem in our country, he will inevitably make mistakes, and he cannot please everyone. But he has created an electricity in the air. People have a lot of hope in him. And I think that hope alone can do wonders for our country. If he surrounds himself with good people, puts his trust in intelligent advisors, and leads with compassion, with love, and with the interest of the people at the forefront, his electricity can lead our country in the right direction.

As a final thought, I'll leave you with some interesting tid-bits from my English class (since that is my self-proclaimed specialization). In my class last night, we talked a little about the inauguration and the concerns that are on the minds of our country's people. My students divided into groups and rated some of these issues by importance, 1 being most important. Here is what they decided:

And if you haven't gotten emotional over our 44th president, just listen to KMEL 106.1 for a little while. They practically had me in tears with people calling in and expressing their excitement. Of course, I was immediately jolted back into reality by an Akon song, but what can you do?


Amy Carter said...

i thought your whole post was quite insightful and intelligent... until you directed me to start listenting to KMEL Jams!! that definitely made me laugh. i thought you might say, oh, NPR.

i'm excited as well. and who wouldn't be after the last president ran us into the ground. the only thing we have now is hope! oh, and a smart president. that's a big plus.

and you should give yourself more credit here; i'll bet you're more educated on politics than the average american.

Julia said...

awesome post molly. so intelligent and succinct.

i very much agree with your reasons for excitement. while i don't agree with a lot of his political platforms, i too, am very excited for the energy that he has created.

i think he will be a healing force our nation needs.

brooklyn said...

i found it funny that the lowest rated concern (Guantanamo) of your students was the FIRST thing Obama took care of after being in office.

and amen! it's exciting!

and i agree, that policy aside, the energy of the nation has so much potential for good outcome.

Tyler said...

Happy to see the first black president take office? Of course.

Fun to see our nation so energized about the new administration? Yup.

Stoked about Obama's plans and policy changes? Not in the least bit.

By the way, I had to read your blog post in two shifts.