People often ask me, Craig, why are you so excited about Barack Obama’s presidency? Actually no one has asked me that, but I’m gonna tell you anyway, in bullet-pointed glory.
- Black Prez. – I’m not going to underestimate the symbolic/psychological/spiritual healing power of having a black president. Not that America’s original sin is erased by this act. I just heard a curator at an African American history museum ponder–as he makes a point of touching, each day, a shackle that bound one of his forebears on a slave ship–that African-Americans started out in this country (from the perspective of those in power) as non-human. How does such a wound heal? But a resounding victory for the highest office in the land is, to be understated, something.
- Smartest guy in the room. Barack seems to have brainiac intelligence and emotional intelligence in no small supply. Even better, he’s not afraid to surround himself with other really smart people. Thank God the thought process is once again welcomed into the White House.
- Oratory: Obama was blasted in the primaries and general election as all word and no substance. But really inspiring words — they inspire people! From real presidents like Lincoln and FDR (and I’ll even give a begrudging nod to Reagan) to the really great speeches written by Sorkin and channelled by Martin Sheen in The West Wing (those were some great speeches) — people respond to this — not just in rapturous adoration, but in caches of trust and goodwill and (wait for it) hope. Interestingly, the great orators tend to make good on at least the spirit of their big ideas. We’ll have to wait and see, but good words are a good place to start.
- Tech-savvy: This is kind of an offshoot of smartest guy in the room, but he’s done a great job of connecting with me through newish technology (though he didn’t text me.) I know the e-mails I got with his name on the other end weren’t really from him, but those e-mails kept me in touch with the campaign, searching YouTube/CNN etc for more information, and got me at least thinking about who in my neighborhood was on the same page as me politically.
That’s all for now. There are challenges ahead, and there’s no telling how the realities of the Presidency will square with candidate Obama. I’m wishing him the best (and Mr. President, if you need another speech writer …)