A New Day

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Sydney, Wednesday

In the wee hours of this morning, I was thrilled, along with millions of fellow global citizens, by the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

Having watched the early morning U.S. activities, we got a couple hours’ sleep and woke to the alarm at 2am Sydney time (10am Washington, D.C.). We watched non-stop for the next five hours.

What a joy it was to text back and forth with my son in Washington and talk on the telephone with my (lifelong Republican) parents in New Jersey, everyone celebrating, everyone hopeful, everyone moved by the enormity and significance of the moment.

A View from Afar

As each of us experiences these events in our own way, I offer a few impressions from afar, reasons I’m excited and what I’m simply enjoying as we see and learn more about President Obama:

* his face to the world and image abroad is already making a difference in how the U.S. is perceived

* he’s a leader, has charisma, has made impressive Cabinet choices, and has reached out ‘across the aisle’ to Republicans in Congress

*  he chose a running mate who complements him in important ways, including foreign policy knowledge and experience

* he’s intelligent, educated, articulate, and his mixed race heritage gives him unique understanding and sensitivity no President before him could claim

* he has humility combined with enormous, world-scale ambitions for good

* I loved much about his speech, especially his global awareness and his words about responsibility

* I was impressed by his composure and unrehearsed comments about Ted Kennedy, after Kennedy collapsed at the Congressional lunch. Obama noticeably paused for a few moments, obviously thinking seriously; recognised something important and personal about Kennedy’s own leadership (regarding the Voting Rights Act); and briefly and solemnly spoke for the nation in expressing concern and prayers for Kennedy’s family.

* I love that there are children in the White House

* I love that the Obamas are a poised and glamourous couple; it’s fun, it’s exciting, and they bring both youth and sophistication to the White House. (Once again I loved Michelle’s dress; Clive admired what he called her green ‘washing-up gloves’.) I love their body language and the way they hold hands and look into each other’s eyes.

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Unprecedented Support and Goodwill

Obama has amazing statistics in terms of support vs. expectations. A January 19th Economist article reported his 80% favourable rating, made all the more noteworthy by an accompanying survey in which 66% said they don’t expect to see progress on the economy in the next two years, and 50% doubt there will be much progress on health care reform or an end to the war in Iraq in that time.

With these remarkable numbers comes remarkable opportunity. It’s clear Obama understands this, and is conscious of his unique place and his unique potential to be a force for good in world history.

Well done, and congratulations, President Obama.
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9 Responses

  1. i don’t doubt that Obama will be a vast improvement for the U.S. and the rest of the world

  2. What a lovely post! I love the details you always include each time you post.

    This one’s a standout and not just because of the subject matter.

    I was so impressed yesterday. John and I watched the inauguration with a mix of Americans who are married to Brits. It was so good to sing along and cheer with the rest on the nation even as I embrace another country and make it my home.

  3. Carolyn,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I too am excited by the election of our new president. I think he and his family possess true class. I hope others will be patient. It will take a while to dig out of this. I am looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  4. Carolyn,
    Thank you for visiting my blog. I too am looking forward to having this new president. I hope people will be patient. It will take quite a while to get out of this mess we are in. I think he and his family possess true class. I am looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  5. It was such a great day. I feel so much hope and optimism thanks to our wonderful new President.

  6. Hi Carolyn,
    You were excited too !!
    I’m filled with pride and hope, but I’m also realistic. It’s time to give our old fashioned “work ethic” a long and very hard workout.

    I’m so glad to know that America has so many admirers and friends behind her 🙂

    Hugs to you back and yes a big SHAKA sign flashing back to you !! 😉

  7. I echo your thoughts! Yes, yes, yes, and yes!!!

    One of my favorite parts of your observations is noticing that children will be in the White House once again! Not young adults. Not various relatives. Not big donors sleeping in the LIncoln Bedroom (well, I hope not but I understand politics is politics (sic) as they say…!). But children!!

    When the sun came up on January 20th it was a shining new day in so many ways…!

    Take care.

    PS And you know what? I was teaching a class when he gave his speech…. so you saw something I did not! Heh!!

  8. Thanks for your comments, Coffee, Elizabeth, Julianne, Belette, Barbara, and Russell. It was such a great and hopeful day around the world. Now the real work has begun.

    This weekend yet more Aussies told us they’ve felt more positive about the U.S. since Obama’s election. It’s a lovely change and one we all hope continues.

    Cheers to all.

  9. Are you kidding me…Seriously? why would anyone is their right mind vote for this man. he will not be good for America, the economy, global security…look at he changes he has already implemented…Yes, let’s release the terrorist that participated in killing thousand of American’s..Close Guantonimo! Brilliant! He was also the first president in American history to never go to the military inagurial ball….now that’s patriotism….this guy is nothing but your typical, charismatic trial lawyer…..I pray that the rest of the US Senate and House embrace this change for the betterment of this country….and not get sucked into the the media elected president’s agenda…Good Luck America…you wanted Change and ou will have it….That is all you will have…is the change that jingle’s in your pocket…..This country is in for a major downfall.

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