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The Mechanics
« Martin Luther King, Jr., Before Reclamation Liveblogging the Inauguration »

Obama Mon Jan 19 2009

Suspending My Disbelief

Unlike the rest of this fine city, I did not vote for Barack Obama.

(I didn't vote for the other guy, either.)

Armed with certain principles, I recognize Obama is a politician, and a slick, brutally effective marketing campaign isn't going to change the fact that he, like too many others, chooses to look to the government first when a problem needs solving.

To quote Virgina Postrel: "See a problem, design a program."

Take the economy. A recent Weekend Update skit on SNL depicted Keenan Thompson -- remember him from "All That?" -- as a bald-headed "expert" whose sage words about the economy were "Fix it!"

The government can't fix the economy. Well, it can put the "fix in" on it, but it can't create jobs, invent products or build wealth. Unfortunately, Bush, Obama and most Americans think that the government will be able to bring us out of these current economic depths by public works projects, more "stimulus," bailouts, et al.

Le sigh.

But I am suspending my disbelief tomorrow (thanks, Peggy Noonan). Barack Obama can do so much more to improve this country by leading by example than he can by issuing executive orders or signing bills into law.

I've visited a number of Chicago public charter schools since the election and have seen how Obama's victory has inspired kids who need a role model. Former high school drop-outs told me that Obama had shown them that someone who looked like them could achieve great things. Crayon-drawn pictures of Obama lined the hallways in the elementary schools, and made me wonder if this was more than just simple hero worship.

Time will tell.

But for now go ahead: Don't sleep tonight, be excited, be proud. If nothing else, what happens tomorrow will be unique for its bloodlessness and orderly transition from one chief to another.

Although my identity is independent of who serves in the office of president, Speaker of the House, Secretary of State...whatever, I admit that inaugurations are special, and this one certainly counts among the most historic.

As for me, I am going to sleep. Tomorrow, things will change -- the "end of an error," some call it -- but you know what they say: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Gaigen / January 20, 2009 9:25 AM

Seriously? SNL's Weekend Update? You're using that as Exhibit A?

The only people expecting miraculous change are idiots and Republicans... the first because, well, they're idiots. The second because they can't WAIT to say I told you so. Everyone other adult knows it's not going to happen overnight but it cautiously optimistic it will. I guess that's the thing causing people so much consternation? Optimism in an administration has been absent so long people don't know what to do when it show up. Try giving it a chance before dismissing it as "the more things change..." Sheesh.

Olly McPherson / January 20, 2009 10:02 AM

Amen, Gaigen. The Obama inauguration is bringing the "above-it-all/a-pox-on-both-houses" fetishists out in force.

Kristin / January 20, 2009 2:23 PM

You're absolutely right Gaigen. I'm not expecting enormous change at all. Just an enormous amount of debt that Americans will be paying back for years to come.

But then why should I rely on math and reason right? Yay-everything will turn out just fine cause someone told me so!!!! Woooo. Look how optimistic I am!

eya / January 21, 2009 4:41 PM

optimism is a disease.

what cracks
me up is how "optimists"
look down on people who don't think like them ...

is that what a "true" optimist would do?

a voice of dissent is always welcome.

get over yourselves.

Ramsin CanonAuthor Profile Page / January 21, 2009 11:25 PM

Bless the contrarians!

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