January 20, 2009
CONGRATULATIONS TO MR. OBAMA: The civil-rights revolution was something of my parents’ generation, not mine — my dad marched at Selma, but I was learning to walk, talk and eat at the time, skills I found useful in later life, but . . . . Still, whether or not you voted for Barack Obama, this is a watershed moment. I find that my overwhelming feeling for him right now is sympathy, though, as it was for President Bush. Bill Clinton probably realizes just how lucky he was to be President during a period where things were relatively calm. I fear that won’t be Obama’s lot, as it wasn’t Bush’s, though I hope I’m wrong.
Meanwhile, let’s also hope that this watershed will fade from memory. It was a big deal when JFK became the first Catholic President, but now it seems quaint that that was ever an issue. It will be nice to see the same thing come true regarding the first black President. Meanwhile, inevitably some people will find their fondest expectations unmet, while others — at this point, I count myself among them — will be pleasantly surprised by how things go.