Editor's Choice Archive 1

Obama, Idealism and the Promise of Tomorrow

By Patricia Keegan

When a baby is born in America and awakens for the first time in a strange, new world what will be expected of this child and what is the promise of tomorrow? The child is, in itself, a wondrous miracle, a gift of joy, a vision of perfection. Awesome in its presence, mysterious in its mind, the baby is the majestic affirmation of a loving God. The primary instinct of a family is to protect the innocence of the child and to point to the wonders, the beauty, the possibilities in the surrounding world. Ideally they nurture the soul, helping it to grow strong, happy and confident, knowing that one day the child will face life’s inevitable challenges and be able to make the right choices.

America is now at a turning point that could move the country even further away from idealism into the stagnant pit of cynicism, or open the path to a more enlightened society where differences in opinion, color or creed are a source of interest, not anger, and where immediate gratification is expected only by two year-olds.

In the amazing and colorful pattern of the fabric of our society, if we look through a positive lens, there are buds struggling to bloom, there are courageous people who want to add to the cohesion and understanding of the larger world. The effort to avert a clash of civilizations, or even abate the insults hurled back and forth against Muslims may, in the long run, dilute the current state of hysteria, produce civil discourse and promote better understanding of each other. Reaching this point means listening more to learn more, and having the sensitivity to not stigmatize a group from a biased or narrow perspective.

The unfortunate dilemma of the human condition is that our communication is generally confined to words, and words, given their limitations, are inadequate -- at times even hazardous. Who could have found the words to give Barack Obama a complete overview of what faced him as President of the United States? Not past Presidents or history books. Who could have shown him the depth of the pitfalls of war, the intricate toppling of the financial world, or the fickleness of people? Who could have warned him of the vitriol that would be heaped upon him?

Like a rainbow of hope, the Obama wave was an arc of idealism spanning a country desperately looking for a change. Searching for miracles to heal the cynical divide, young and old alike were caught up in that captivating message of hope. They expected the impossible because they didn't realize how the inner cauldrons of influence worked in Washington. Their source of hope, Barack Obama, did not walk on water. Though idealistic, gifted and noble in his philosophy, he could not transform the world in one or two years because he was merely human! Whether or not that fact is acceptable to Obama’s constituency will be a significant harbinger of the future and how it will affect our children. Will idealists still rise from the young or will they grow up in an angry, cynical world as non-participants in the electoral process?

Only by uniting in pursuit of the common interest can our country move forward. The issues on the table are serious and need immediate and undivided attention that call for a bipartisan approach. Since the Great Depression and WWII, Americans have not been bombarded with such dire predictions regarding both domestic and global issues.

Today the President of the United States carries an unrelenting, unforgiving burden of responsibility on his shoulders. Adding to the hefty weight of two wars, we now face the unpredictability of a terrorist attack and the predicted ravages of global warming. Is this not an unprecedented array of problems to be carried by an American President? From Eisenhower all the way through the last 60 years and nine presidents, not one had to face the enormous challenges that confront Obama.

If one were to take even a few moments to ponder the immense burden this man carries, it would be clear that our President deserves our respect, as well as our prayers.

Today, as our children become more aware of the world around them and start planning for the dream of a good education, this nation must remain a land of promise and pride, encouraging our young to study, to travel and to learn about other people, cultures and languages We are at a turning point where all could be swept up in negativity. That great promise of dignity and the pursuit of happiness, as laid out in the Declaration of Independence by the founding fathers, could become nice words of aspiration, but meaningless and beyond the reach of most hard-working people.

Something good has to happen to prevent this ideal from disappearing from our lives and the lives of future generations. Goals have to be set, solutions found. The seeds of reason must rise, take hold and bear fruit; the good of the whole country must become the national priority. We have a leader with the ability to make this happen, but he can't do it alone. If the youth, the idealists and the visionaries who rallied around candidate Barack Obama have faith, if they unite and energize, they can move the country out of this rut of negativity. Rather than trying to fast-forward the pace of the Obama “Change”, it is still possible, step by step, to avoid the slump of indifference, and with hard work and patience build a resolve high enough and strong enough to catch the light beyond the clouds.