I’m a believer in believing.
While it’s true that I’m fairly cynical by nature, there is part of me that keeps out hope for finding something to believe in — a cause, ideal or person that generates enthusiasm in me and causes me to get carried away in the idea that something truly inspiring or inspired is there for me to behold.
I find it in different arenas. I’ve seen it with my reporters making those extra phone calls to pin something down, or getting wrapped up in a sports team that continues to defy the odds and experts by pulling together for a common cause. I’ve been inspired by a dear friend battling through an extremely difficult health situation, and I believed strongly in defending and honoring the American way of life when I was a young man in the Marine Corps.
Yes, there is a large part of me that’s become disillusioned over the years, and that’s probably a sad thing. Those waves of optimism and the unflagging belief that things always have a way of working themselves out have largely been replaced by a nagging feeling of pessimism and an uncompromising belief that I must prepare myself in all things for when they inevitably do go wrong.
But maybe I’m getting a little bit of that belief back again.
I was genuinely moved by the inauguration speech of President Barack Obama on Tuesday. While I expected a diatribe against the old regime, and some empty words on hope and guaranteed prosperity, what I heard was a genuine belief that for this nation to achieve greatness again, it will have to be a team effort.
He spoke of all of us being accountable to one another, and of accepting personal responsibility. He spoke of common sense on spending, improving opportunities for all and of repairing old relationships around the world.
He offered hope.
And, in times like these, isn’t that what we are all really looking for right now? Just a glimmer of optimism and hope for the coming years, and the belief that things can really get better if we just roll up our sleeves and work on it?
It really doesn’t matter if you supported Obama or not in his run for the White House. It’s moot. The real-life truth to the situation is that this is our president. If you truly are patriotic, and truly want the nation to turn around, then it’s time to get on board and follow the leader. Moaning and crying about the election doesn’t mean a hill of beans in the real world.
Giving the guy a chance to improve things is what is needed.
But I’ll put it out there. I personally believe the guy can shake some things up and cause some good change. Would it appear that he might be a bit overmatched on some issues concerning foreign relations? Probably. But that’s one of the reasons he selected Joe Biden to serve as his vice-president. And, besides, you have to believe at least a little bit that he can improve some foreign relations through his intelligence, charm and charisma alone.
But I’m not going to spend all my time and space here trying to sell you on the man. As I said earlier, it doesn’t matter anymore. He got elected.
But what we must do is embrace our new leader, and give him the opportunity to succeed or fail. These are tough times. We’ll either get through this together, or we’ll only watch things get worse around us. If you don’t think partisan politics — by both sides — are at least partially responsible for our current problems, you’re not paying attention. The stalling and stonewalling by our political leaders has caused things to either move in the wrong direction or, worse, in no direction at all.
The last thing I’m suggesting is a goose-stepping public that blindly follows its leaders. That’s the antithesis of what makes good government. There must be voices to argue against all thoughts and ideas, simply because it causes the general conversation to be more involved and could result in better answers.
But do we need party leaders voting against something that’s helpful because of which side thought of the idea first? Do we need people not even listening to what the new president has to say because they didn’t vote for him? Do we need more of the same garbage? No, that’s what got us here in the first place.
What we need right now is hope and optimism. And I’m feeling them both.