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Bringing Back the Hope

February 25, 2009

It’s been a while since now President Obama riveted us to our screens with his masterful oratory. But one thing was presidential-address-to-congressabsolutely clear to me as I watched our President address to the joint Congress last night. The hope that had a nation soaring for change has returned.  The President address was nearly inaugural in feel, as if the joy of the office had finally pierced his the sobriety of his responsibility. As he declared forcefully,

“We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”

I felt lifted. The address was sweeping, clear, bold and profound. He vowed to address the great political divides this country has been kicking down the field for decades. To ensure the ability of college for all, to reform health care not inspite of fiscal responsibility, but because of it, to take a scalpal to our bloated Federal budget, and to responsibly end our nations great mistake, the Iraq war. He spoke of empowering a nation to live green and free us from the I.V. that is foreign oil, to finally oversee the greedy and provide needed credit to the least of these.

That my friends is a load.

Though many will, I pray that most will resist the ease to approach the President’s agenda with the bludgeon that is synicism. For it will be easy to do, the agenda is massive. But it is also wonderful. It is what we all voted to see happen, and in his address the President stood firm on the platform he spoke of on the campaign. We can do this. The wind of public opinion is at the his back, and it is clear that the nation is ready to give President Obama a wide birth for his agenda.  Republicans will rightly say that President Obama is speaking in ways not unlike Roosevelts’s “New Deal” or Johnsons “Great Society”, but they will do themselves a great disservice if they fail to realize that unlike those earlier presidents, Obama is speaking to an overpowering majority in our nation and the world. 

Yes, we know that the speech was more aspiration than it was wonkish detailing of the way forward, but isn’t that part of what is ailing us? The dilution of our national confidence. Hasn’t everyone wanted something to hope for. Well, the man at the podium on Tuesday night delivered that in relish and rhetorical command that we have heretofore not beheld. He has truly taken hold of his Presidency now – when we need him to have hold of it most.

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