Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's New Year's Eve as I write this. January 19, 2009. As noted in last week's blog, January Blahs (but Hope Springs Eternal), all of 2009 to date has just been marking time. This year, the ball doesn't drop in Times Square at the stroke of midnight on January 1st. It drops at noon, January 20th overlooking the National Mall. With apologies to the Ghermazian Brothers, tomorrow Washington, D.C. is the home of the real Mall of America.

The real Mall of America will be filled with an untold number of "consumers", lined up to be the first to invest in a renewed commitment to the ideals that made our nation great. The coin of the realm tomorrow is their mere presence, the unabashedly joyful volume of which is enough to swell the country with pride and make us all part of the buying experience.

The real Mall of America will be salted with believers whose unwavering pursuit of the ideal of inclusion in our political discourse and in our society as a whole succeeded in electing a new president with the intellect, demeanor and common sense required to unite, and thereby strengthen, a country on the verge of resorting to fearing fear itself.

The real Mall of America will be devoid of small-minded pessimists who choose to take refuge in a cocoon of fear and prejudice rather than embrace the challenges and resulting paradigm shifting possibilities eloquently detailed by our new president.

The real Mall of America will be imbued with the spirit of Abraham, Martin, Bobby and John and all who sacrificed so selflessly to prove that the ideals they preached could actually be achieved.

Forty-eight years ago to the day, because that is how traditions work, I missed the opportunity to watch JFK's inaugural address on television because I was carrying out my responsibilities as a street patrol, making the crosswalks safe for students going home for lunch. As an 8 year old, I did not really have a sense of how excited the country was to have a young, articulate Senator take the oath of office and lead us through an anxious era dominated by the threat of nuclear annihilation. It was years before I realized what I missed standing out on that corner in St. Louis Park while the new president was addressing the nation.

However, tomorrow, New Year's Day, I will gather with friends in front of a television accepting signals from a satellite envisioned before the rest of us by JFK. All sharing the experience with me are all fully apprised of the significance of the ascendancy of another young, articulate Senator to the presidency and his acceptance of the responsibility for leading us through a new era of anxious times. We will celebrate with laughter and tears and with the audacity to hope that the fresh, inclusive, reasoned, considered, welcoming, challenging, and ethical approach to government championed by President Barack Obama will right the Ship of State and return it to a course for greatness.

Happy New Year, everyone! Let us celebrate with the joy that the moment deserves. Let us remember that the optimism we share as a people, as we reflect on the possibilities that competence in our leadership offers, can be turned into a force powerful enough to achieve, with time and growing momentum, all of the daunting goals we dare set for ourselves.


Cathy Lemann said...

Yes!! HAPPY NEW YEAR! and I welcome this transition. The thousands of young Americans in DC to welcome this transition is truly heartening. Don't let them forget the struggles of those who came before them

irvstern said...

My only concern is partisan politics and "gotcha" media. Otherwise, I look forward to a very happy new year after eight terrible years.
Irv Stern