Welcome to Day One. Now that a lot of the shouting has died down and the two million plus who filled our nation's capital yesterday have started their sojourn home, where are we and how do we get to where we hope to go?
I don't pretend to have the answers to those questions. But I can imagine that the shoulders of the person upon whom we placed the burden of answering those (and thousands as yet unformulated and unasked) questions, together with a lot of our hopes and dreams, must (by necessity) bow his back and give him cause for pause.
Not that you would have guessed any of that yesterday, watching the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, administer the oath of office to Barack Obama, clear-eyed, ram-rod straight and ready to begin. His first address to all of us as the President, not as a candidate for the office, not as a hyphenated"- elect" but simply as President of the United States of America (and thus, the most powerful person on earth in the history of the planet) had to do so much for so many, it didn't seem possible mere words could achieve everything expected.
President Obama and we have all arrived at a precarious point in our nation's existence. I'd like to think, from what I heard yesterday, he is embracing the challenge (as if there were another choice) and we would do well to do the same. If we've learned nothing in recent memory but that business as usual in practically every aspect of our lives will no longer be good enough, that lesson may still be sinking in for some. A lot of folks are nursing hangovers today--hope (and other four-letter words) will do that to you, I guess. "In the morning, I shall be sober."
There are those on the air and on the web who want to wait and see (abwarten und tee trinken as Germans say) which might seem like a good idea, except when this President succeeds, we all do and should he fail, the consequences for each of us are incalculable. If we're tying fate between our teeth, it pays to smile to start the day. We need to put partisanship aside, ideally forever, but practically speaking, at least for now. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.
Far too often, and far more often than any of us will want, the days ahead may be filled with tears and toil. We have much to do, let us all begin. Again.