The Eve of the Inauguration

20Jan09

On this, the eve of the Presidential Inauguration, many emotions tug at my heart. The Presidential Inauguration is a celebration of Democracy, a celebration of our freedom to exercise our right to choose our country’s leader. The question now, to which the only answer will be the passing of events over the next four years is, did this country choose the right man? Will his undefinable change be the change that comes to pass, not only the change to believe in.

As I watched footage of Ronald Reagan’s Inauguration on CNN this evening, I saw greatness. Reagan, is an embodiment of the American Dream. A man who came from nothingness to be one of the finest, most revered Presidents of all time, not to mention one of the most celebrated Republicans. One of the things I admire most about Reagan was his constant willingness to acknowledge that we are one nation under God. Too often, Americans want to remove God from the workings of the United States. And as a result, we willingly suffer the morally repugnant actions of leaders such as Bill Clinton who are entrusted with the duty of representing American values to the rest of the world. This is completely unacceptable. As I watched Reagan deliver the closing lines of his address, I realized that his particular breed of leader will become extinct with the exit of George W. Bush from office. Reagan declared that we, “are one people under God, dedicated to the dream of freedom that He has placed in the human heart, called upon now to pass that dream on to a waiting and hopeful world.” Despite the mistakes Bush made in fighting the War on Terror, his heart was in the right place because he was devoted to passing the liberty that we Americans enjoy onto a nation starved for humane leadership and protection.

Bush’s mistakes were mistakes of the heart. Which I can only imagine would be easy for a President to fall prey to during a time of war. The President’s concern for civilian casualities perhaps prevented him from implementing the campaign that would have ensured a quicker, decisive success at the war’s onset. One other President comes to my mind when discussing mistakes of the heart. Richard Nixon.

It is my firm and unyielding belief that before any candidate runs for any office, they should watch the last 5 minutes of the Frost-Nixon Interviews and witness what kind of pain they will suffer should they fail the people who elect them. It is my personal opinion that Nixon was a President who loved this country. He committed a crime, and that is excusable under no circumstances. However, let me be colloquial for a moment when I say, let’s just get real. The crime Nixon committed was hardly a Clintonian scandal. Nixon got caught–bottom line. Do we really not think Watergate-like scandals take place between the two opposing parties on a regular basis? Especially in such a divisive political climate? I believe that Nixon was a President who loved. And that is apparent from the sheer pain on his face in the moment that he realized what the failure of a President means in the last moments of his interviews. It is a pain that touches the heart of all who witness it. It is a pain and remorse that Americans never saw in President Clinton. It is the pain and remorse that one can only know when one fails an entire nation of people, who place their trust, their safety, their prosperity in the hands of their President.

I did not support Barack Obama. Yet I refuse to be like those who protested Bush’s election by stating, “He is not my President.” I am an American and Obama is my President, regardless of how I cast my vote. There seems to be little to do now but to wish him the best of luck for the next four years (hopefully not eight), and see how much change he can really deliver. I think he will be hardpressed to institute the change he preached in his lofty and inspirational national addresses during the election. The political climate in America simply isn’t conducive right now to such liberalism. However, American politics are in need of an infusion of leadership, especially the Republican Party. To quote one of my most favorite movies, “The American President” which I am ashamed to admit is one of my favorites since its a typical liberal Hollywood creation demonizing the Republican candidate, “They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert towards a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water they’ll drink the sand.”

To this Michael Douglas (“President Sheperd”) replies, “People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand, because they don’t know the difference.”

It is my greatest fear that in electing Obama, the American people drank the sand, unable to separate mirage from reality in a time of war and economic crisis.

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