I was a child (six years old) when Clinton came into office. He was my first president and thus he is the standard by which I measure any president after him. That standard is actually pretty high. Clinton was great and I knew it as a child of about ten years old. In fact I remember being interested in politics way back in the third grade. During the election of ‘96 I would walk around the playground before school and during recess with my arm positioned awkwardly, holding an imaginary pen, doing an impression of Bob Dole. The kids loved it. The point that I’m trying to make with that story is that I’ve always known which candidate would be better for the country. At first it was a gut feeling and as I matured facts started to become more important than gut feelings. What hasn’t changed as I matured is my leaning toward the left of the political spectrum. During this past election both the facts and my gut feeling told me that Obama was the man for this time. This is the second election I’ve voted and this time I wasn’t disappointed.
About a half hour ago our 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, (God, I love saying that) took the oath of office and gave an incredible speech. It truly lived up to the hype surrounding it. It will surely go down in history as one of the greatest presidential addresses in out nation’s history if not for the content of the speech then for the fact that he is out first black president.
Obama is an incredible orator. There are so many elements of today’s address that moved me but I’ll go over some of the highlights. What I love about Barack is that he levels with you. And I use the word ‘you’ instead of ‘us’ or ‘we’ because when he speaks it feels as if he talking directly to you. I have no doubt that each and every one of the people present in D.C. today felt as if Obama was speaking directly to them. While Obama levels with you in the way he acknowledges America’s problems and challenges does it in a way that shows intelligence on his part. Its very interesting to see him do this through the use of pure honesty and language that isn’t quite flowery or inflated but deliberate and thoughtful.
He has a unique ability to inspire. Most politicians give speeches full of inflated, flowery language meant to inspire and everyone applauds their effort but it feels hollow. Those speeches felt fake. The words seem forced and obligatory. Obama’s speech on the other hand, was as real as you could get. His message was all about hope, change, meeting challenges, and it gave me a confidence not only in my country but in myself. His speech inspired me to strive for greatness. I haven’t read, heard or seen any speech that moved me like the one President Obama (saying that is like ecstasy) gave just over an hour ago.
As someone in my twenties I understand that the generation before me may not get this. That’s okay. What they need to remember, and I think Obama has put this message across on occasion, is that once you reach an age where you have children, you need to vote based on their best interest. Because my generation is the generation that will be running the world in the near future. Obama is everyone’s president but he is my generation’s president most of all. We put him in and we (I hope) will continue what he started long after he is gone.
Obama’s inauguration came just when this country really needed it. His message of hope is genuine. This man is not placating us. To those who would say people like me are just groupies I say stop looking at this moment in history through your filter of fear and denial and just listen to what Obama said today. If you were truly listening - not reading between the lines, analyzing the meaning of certain words, or comparing him to anyone else - then there is no doubt you have been inspired. I am proud to have Barack Obama as my president.
(I’m wearing my Obama T-Shirt my sister got me when she visited D.C. She took a trip to Penn State and went with my mother to the capital afterward.)