John McCain would have made a decent President. Seriously. The next four years would have been fine. Probably much the same as the next four years are going to be anyway. It still would have taken a long time to figure out the economic mess. The wars we're in would have continued. The sun would go up and down. Yada, yada, Yoda.
Yesterday I watched the "We Are One" inauguration kick off at the Lincoln Memorial. I watched it on our computer after I awoke from recovering from a night shift. It was a heck of a concert, and the speakers were amazing. But several times I found myself watching with a lump in my throat, and even a tear in my eye. This was rather curious, as I don't usually well up at concerts.
So I'm sitting there with Sweet Pea on my lap, the Boyo in the chair next to me, both of them bopping along in time with the music. The Wife sitting nearby, enjoying the event again. (She got to watch it live the first time) The Boyo was singing along with some of the songs. (He watched the concert with Mommy once earlier in the day, and already memorized some of the songs.) And I'm analyzing why I've got tears in my eyes as James Taylor is playing "Shower the People (with Love)".
Hope. I think that's what it is. I feel hopeful for my country. In the last eight years I've run the gamut of emotions. Anger. Frustration. Disbelief. Exasperation. Hopelessness. All because of the actions and behaviors of a few of our top leaders. I even seriously considered a move to Canada or Italy or Scotland (and I've never even been to Scotland). But then figured I'd have to spend a lot of time apologizing to foreigners in their own countries.
"Truly, Ma'am. I am sorry for my government. Please believe we are not all like that!"
I might have had to wear a tee-shirt continuously apologizing for the hair brained leadership we've had to endure. I've watched and listened in the past couple of weeks as King George II has tried valiantly to lock in his place in history. Mostly by revising or denying facts from the past eight years. Or, my favorite tactic, asking history to look at the great things he's done elsewhere.
"George Bush has really helped the African people, with his policies and aid for malaria, HIV/AIDS, and various other African social and health issues."
Well, yes. He has done some great things for some parts of the African continent. (We'll leave out all of the genocide and ongoing wars over there for now) But the important thing to remember, and I don't think history will forget this part... he was not the President of Africa. He was supposed to be OUR President!
John McCain would have done fine. Not much would have changed in the American psyche though.
What Obama has done is inspired the nation again. Maybe not all of us. But an amazing portion of us. He has instilled the country with a pride in being Americans again. Given us HOPE that our country can be what it was meant to be once more. Most importantly, and I don't think I'm alone here, I don't feel like I'm going to need to apologize for his behaviors. He will restore the Presidency to what it should be. An office not only commanding respect, but showing it. He will speak eloquently, and intelligently. He will be classy, which is desperately needed in that office right now. And I hope (believe) that other countries will see us once again as a country worth believing in. One that brings hope and help to the world, not hatred and oppression.
As I watched the big names and thousands in D.C. singing "This Land is Your Land" I stood up with my daughter and sang along. The Boyo boogied next to me, singing along, and I had HOPE once more that we could finally understand that we all are, indeed, one.