Today's Essential Truth - A Comment
Today, Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. I write this because of an email I received this morning from an acquaintance who wrote in part, "we anticipate the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African-American to become President of the United States. We have hoped for this day, waited for this day, and are thrilled that this occasion will be upon us today, January 20th."
I responded, I hope politely and diplomatically, that I thought now was the time that it should stop being "Obama, the first Afro-American President" and become "Barack Obama, the 44th President." One of the more compelling points of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, perhaps one of the most iconic speeches in American history, was that he dreamed that his children would "one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
President Obama, I wrote, "will sink or swim, not because he is 1/2 Black, but because he is a good leader and a smart man (or not). His ability to make decisions in the face of crisis will define his Presidency, not his color. And there will be plenty of crises to face. Frankly, if his election is the culmination of Dr. King's dream, then Dr. King, I believe, would object to characterizing Obama in that way."
This country stands out among the others in the world because of our ability to have a peaceful and smooth transition of government, passing the leadership from one man and one party to another.
It is clear that the challenges facing our 44th President, both domestic and foreign, will be great. The transition from President Bush to President Obama does little to change that. How this country faces those challenges will write the history of the next 4 years.