I've been trying to think of what to write for most of the last 36 hours, but everything seems pithy compared to the monumental nature of the moment and to what I am feeling. So much has been said, that I can't really hope to repeat it,or to equal it, yet still I am filled with the same joy and the same hope that is overcoming so many and I feel the need to express it.
I got up early yesterday morning, caught the bus early and showed up on campus to watch inauguration with about 800 other people. It was fantastic. Even with the flub of the oath.
Yesterday morning, George W. Bush was still president. Today Barack Obama has been president, MY PRESIDENT, for 36 hours. It's amazing not only for the obvious historicity of the it all, but because it feels so personally meaningful. I've been a fan of Obama from the beginning, and now he is my president. The guy I supported from the beginning, campaigned for, voted for-- that's it. He's the winner. That a first for me in general, in terms of elections. I live in Alaska, and I'm very, very liberal. I tend to vote for the losers. But not this time. I feel for the 60 million people who didn't vote for him, yet I find myself still ardently declaring that Obama's election is far more a mandate that Bush ever had. The turnout on the National Mall yesterday exemplified that.
As I was explaining to a few friends last night, at the end of the celebratory party that T and I hosted, I am an optimist, and Obama ignites my optimism. But I am also very much a realist, and a pragmatist, and I know that President Obama is more pragmatic than I. I know he is not a miracle worker, I know he will make choices I won't agree with, and I know all the best choices will not be the easy choices nor the ideal choices. Yet still, my hope remains strong, and I believe that in four years time, I will be as pleased with the progress he has made en-masse, as I am with the baby steps he has taken in the last 24 hours. In four years time I feel confident that I will be working as ardently and as hopefully for the RE-ELECTION of President Barack Obama.
The two things which have excited me most, and are most clearly completions of campaign promises are a big part of what's been duly covered by the news today, and are both executive orders: The Ethics Order and The Presidential Records Order. The first establishes strict ethics guidelines for all executive appointees including bans on all gifts from lobbyists, and creating strict rules regarding allowed between undertaking lobby work and government work. The second reverses some of the huge steps the Bush administration had taken to inflate the executive privilege and remove certain presidential records from the public record (at the discretion of the president and their heirs.) Repealing those orders, and establishing clear guidelines for how and when documents can be withheld from the public record really is taking a huge step toward establishing the transparency that we have been promised and so deserve.
I'm also completely in love with the new whitehouse.gov and have already added The Blog to my Google Reader!