Analise Lipari | Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Did you hear the news? There’s a small event going on in Washington, D.C. today. It may or may not concern the politics of the free world. It might involve one of the greatest new political minds of our century. And it could, just maybe, pertain to Y-O-U, that single American citizen sitting in the dining hall.
If you have been anywhere near a television, newspaper, radio, or even that one kid down the hall who’s been reading passages from “The Audacity of Hope” to you since freshman year, you’ve probably heard the news: Today, my friends, is Inauguration Day. By the time you’re reading this paper, Barack Hussein Obama will have officially been inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America.
Winning the presidency, we might gather from the length and expense of this past race, is no small feat. You need both your plans and your execution to work in tandem without missing a beat of the national pulse. You need to build lasting connections with politicians and ordinary citizens across this country, a massive task even in its geographic scope. You need to research, to investigate, to understand and to grapple. You practically need an army. Heck, if you manage to get the job, you will need an army.
On January 20, 2009, we’ve offered Barack Obama the chance to take that job.
In a time of economic collapse and international tension, our democratic process, however long and toiling that process may be, has chosen this man to take his seat in the Oval Office. Maybe it was a feeling of trust, or confidence, or belief in his beliefs and his vision. Or maybe it was all three. But no matter what led us to the polling booth, and no matter whose box we checked (or whose chad we punched), today, we’re celebrating a beginning.
On a side note, I wonder if my kids will ask me about the day Obama became the President. (Note: In this scenario, I have extremely thoughtful and politically aware children.) If or when they do, I’m not sure what I’ll say. I could tell them the details of the ceremony, or quote a memorable part of his inaugural speech.
But will I be able to express the feeling? The excitement and the anticipation, blended together with some sense of hope in this crazy world? We’ll have to wait and see.
I hope you watched the Inauguration this morning. You may have class, work or something else that would normally be a legitimate use of your time. But I hope you set aside whatever commitments you may have had to watch at least part of what happened today.
Because you – yes, you – are witnessing something extraordinary. It’s rare that we get the opportunity to grab hold of history with our own two hands. Don’t let it pass you by.