In less than forty-eight hours, the incumbent President will leave the White House for the last time while the newly inaugurated President will begin his term of office. Even though this happens every four or eight years, each departing and arriving seems different.
President-elect Barack Obama’s journey to become President soon ends as he takes the oath of office for the highest position in the land. It remains to be seen how he does once he’s actually installed in office; and the skeptics among us are holding their collective breathe. At the same time, how can we deny the joyousness of the day?
Some may argue that Obama is not an African American but a mixed-race President. I see that point of view, but I also see that Obama categorizes himself as African-American. Given this country’s contentious relationship with African Americans, why would Obama choose to identify himself as one unless he felt he was? (I know, I know; some believe in political expediency. Regardless, so be it.) Which means Tuesday’s inauguration is the first of an African-American, one who has risen rapidly and charismatically, somewhat like another candidate in an era where being a Roman Catholic was considered a disadvantage.
I plan to watch a lot of the activities in Washington live next Tuesday. I want to see the swearing in, the parade, even the official — and maybe an unofficial or two — balls. The next day, however, I want to see President Obama get down to work to resolve some of the issues that person formerly known as President Bush didn’t even address in his farewell speech.
It will be tough.