And we were there.
Well, not physically there in Washington, D.C., but there glued to our T.V. sets or streaming video to watch the inauguration.
A hundred years from now, when historians break down the series of events that helped shape this moment in time, what seeds will they say grew into the trees and forests that gave us the Obama presidency? The lofty may point to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War that freed the slaves. Then, there’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. There’s also the Civil Rights era of the 60’s that led to reforms in education, employment, housing, and voting rights. These are all important events.
But getting closer to the particulars of Obama’s candidacy and victory are events that led people to believe “The color of his skin pales in importance to his character, his intellect, and his ability to lead our country out of the mess we’re in.” Yep, the depth of our mess has elevated the importance of Obama’s skill set so that people actually voted for him—not because he’s a black man and not in spite of the fact that he’s a black man—but because he made us believe not that “we can,” but that “we must.”
So, ironically, we must thank the inadequacies of the failed Bush/Cheney administration for giving us Obama. Without the depth of failures: the government that follows a doctrine of preemptive war, allows torture, is secretive and exploitative, is inept, is financially irresponsible, ignores science and trashes the environment as well as the constitution, and is basically dishonest—without all these failures the electorate of 2008 may not have seen the dire need for someone like Obama. I am reminded of the movie Gladiator and the stark contrast between the characters Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) and Maximus (Russell Crowe). The glory that Maximus achieves would not have been his to earn without the treachery of Commodus. Without Commodus’ lack of leadership, Maximus would have returned to Spain to resume his life as a simple farmer. Indeed, without the destruction wrecked by Bush and Cheney, I am not sure that Obama would be our 44th president today.
Regardless, we were there. Yep. You can tell your grandchildren “I was there.”