I never watched an inauguration before, but I wanted to watch this one. So many mixed emotions!
I do find it exciting that a man with racial characteristics which 150 years ago would have made him a slave, and 50 years ago a second class citizen, has been accepted as leader of our country. However, I am saddened that race continues to be an issue at all and look forward to the day when it no longer gives us pause .
I am concerned about the anti-capitalist, pro-statism trend of popular American thought which brought to power a man with the political ideals of our new president. Yet, I see this as the culmination of understandable frustration with our current mixed economy, combined with the failure to recognize that it is not too much freedom that is the problem, but rather the interjection of political coercion into the private affairs of free men (under the rubric of central planning and special interest entitlements) which has wreaked such havoc with our economy and our lives.
I don't feel as though my beliefs and ideals have had a political champion for quite some time, and so I must continue to be my own champion. But, I remain ever-grateful that I live in a country that cherishes debate and protects freedom of speech so I can continue to work to persuade others of my ideas. I still feel a resonance with the people of this country: we want the best of all possible lives for ourselves, our children and people throughout the world--and we continue to strive side-by-side to achieve that goal, even when we disagree so strongly on the appropriate means of achievement.
I found the experience of watching President Bush smile and shake hands with President Obama a moment of worthy of awe and admiration for the process of peacefully transferring power. In a tradition which began with Thomas Jefferson's victory over John Adams, yesterday's transfer was much less revolutionary than the election of 1800, and will not result in civil war as did the election of 1860. I am proud to be part of a country that values and honors that peaceful process. And yet, I fear far too much power is increasingly being granted to the President, and to our government in general.
A number of friends called me yesterday to express concern over where President Obama will attempt to lead us. There is much to be concerned about. But let's not forget, there were significant problems in the leadership of President Bush, and Senator McCain would have created yet another set of challenges.
The events of the past several months have demonstrated how little understanding our politicians have of economics, or even for the essential connection between economic and political liberty. But our elected officials are the expression of the state of understanding of the electorate. To produce better politicians, we needed better informed citizens. That means thinking, educating ourselves, talking, blogging: identifying the essential points of agreement and disagreement and then making the best possible case we can for that in which we believe. Eternal vigilance sure is a lot of work--but it sure beats the alternatives!