I heard someone, somewhere, say that Inauguration Day would be like January 1st all over again: it starts from here.
But I like how my pastor, on the Sunday prior to Inauguration Day, prayed for both then-outgoing President Bush and President-elect Obama. As historical as this election has been, and as unprecedented as the first week's Executive orders have been, it's important to remember that the slate doesn't get wiped clean simply because Obama is President. He enters office in the midst of many complicated and ongoing domestic and international issues. And even as one who is not entirely sure at all about "how it works" in Washington's political machine and culture, I am sure that no huge changes will happen overnight: Gitmo's not gonna close tomorrow, our troops in Iraq won't be pulled out anytime soon, the economy's not gonna bounce back immediately.
I don't mean to sound like such a downer. In fact, I do have a lot of hope. Though I don't see the start of Obama's administration as Day One, I do see it as a new chapter, starting on a new page. And at this new chapter, I am finding myself reading about policies, appointments, and, yes, even First Lady and First Daughters fashion, with much interest--despite past failed attempts to become politically aware.
I think that a huge part of this is that, more than any other world leader in recent history, the Obama family is one in which the people can really see themsleves, from J.Crew to BlackBerry to blogging. That's pretty cool. Another part of it, for me, is that I'm now soundly in my 30s: working, living, paying off debt and forking up taxes all on my own. And I feel that what's happening in my city, my state, my country, and around the world affects me more--and more immediately--than they did even just two years ago. That's cool, too.
So I join a lot of my fellow Americans in a sigh of relief: it's over, he's inaugurated, it's begun, he's at work--he's our President.