Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Inauguration Day, Has Anything Changed Yet?

It's January 20, 2009, Presidential Inauguration Day; the day Americans welcome a new President into office and bid the former farewell.

Many others have already commented on virtually all aspects of former President Bush's term in office and the expectations for President Obama. I do not plan on trying to add any value to, or judgment on, those discussions. Instead, I'd like to offer some words on the new administration's ability to enact change.

I feel sorry for Barack Obama. Not in a pity kind of way, after all, he has already achieved great success, popularity and notoriety by winning the presidential election. I feel sorry for him because in many ways he is destined to fail in the minds of both his supporters and opposition.

Before he ever sat in the oval office, President Obama heightened the expectations of a nation that hungers for change. Change that can be measured in a number of ways; economic recovery, global warming effects, unemployment statistics, healthcare costs, value of retirement funds, energy independence, and what the heck... even world peace.

With so many people having such high hopes for change, change that impacts their own favorite issues, it will be difficult if not impossible for the new administration to satisfy everyone. To completely resolve every problem within a reasonable length of time.

Changing anything does not come easy or fast. I've often used the analogy that making big changes to legacy issues is like turning a ship in the ocean; it takes a lot of space and time, it doesn't happen immediately.

Does our American society and modern culture have the patience for that? We have become so accustomed to immediate gratification. We receive responses to most of our requests almost immediately. Is the average American actually willing to wait for change to occur?

Right or wrong, it seems to me that there is a rather large contingent of Americans who have transitioned from being an enthusiastic supporter of the President to a worshiping disciple. Will their strong emotional tie to the Commander in Chief make it more difficult for them to accept that even he cannot immediately resolve the Country's woes? That there are others in the Federal, State and local government with responsibility? That there is a level of responsibility in each and every one of us?

It is very likely that some people will not have the patience to wait long. I expect that some supporters will change their mind when their own personal issues are not immediately resolved. It is a combination of being naive and irresponsible. Some don't understand that it's not the President's fault that they have made poor decisions in life, just as it's not the President's responsibility to make certain that they find success, no matter how it may be measured.

I fully expect to hear people asking why they have not seen a change, why their own issues remain unresolved, before the ink dries on the Inauguration Day newspaper headlines. My hope is that the new administration can survive the test; for the benefit of the entire Nation, and quite possibly for the whole world.

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