Our View: Celebrating new president for the right reasons

Craig Editorial Board, January 2009 to April 2009

  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Jennifer L. Grubbs, newspaper representative
  • Collin Smith, newspaper representative
  • Marianna Raftopoulos, community representative
  • Luke Schafer, community representative
  • John Smith, community representative
  • Lois Wymore, community representative

Americans can be whatever we want to be. That is a definite message that we can take away from the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

This presidency is different from the 43 that came before for many reasons, but it also is the same for other reasons.

One way it's the same: For the 43rd time in our nation's history, power peacefully was transferred from one elected leader to another.

One way it's different: Obama now is the 44th member of this country's most exclusive club -only five alumni are alive - and he is the club's first minority member.

There is much that can be said - and has been said - about Obama's racial heritage, and how he is the first non-white member of that super-exclusive club.

His swearing-in was decidedly a historic event for the United States. Less than two centuries ago, Barack Obama likely would have been considered three-fifths of a person by our Constitution. Less than half a century ago, the U.S. Supreme Court declared interracial marriage unconstitutional. Less than a year ago, people were debating whether the United States was "ready" for a black president.

We undoubtedly are.

Yes, Tuesday was a historic day.

But while we do not dispute the importance of this for our country, we do hope that this is the last time this is something we celebrate as historic.

Here in Colorado, black men lead both chambers of our Legislature for the first time. That, too, is historic, but, just like Obama's presidency, it also is a big step toward making it commonplace to see minorities in major leadership roles.

The day when we do not even notice when a minority reaches a prominent position - political or not - will be the day when Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream truly is realized.

But now, and for the next four years, we need to look beyond the history and see the work that must be done for the future.

Now is the time for our country to move forward.

We must remember that Obama now is our president and we should support him, but we also must hold our leaders accountable. We must demand transparency from our government, but also trust in the checks and balances built into our system.

We also have to help our new president and this country move beyond a national economic crisis and toward stability and growth.

In Moffat County, our economy is as strong as it's ever been. That does not mean we aren't feeling the pinch from outside, whether it is all in our heads or not. Yet, we have the tools to avoid what is befalling much of the nation. Hope for the future is one of those tools. A willingness to invest in local resources is another.

And while Washington, D.C., is far-removed from Craig and Moffat County, we look to our nation's capital with hope for the future.

Our presidents usually leave office looking twice as old as when they first took the oath of office. This job is not something to be taken lightly. It requires an extremely high level of commitment and service. We can't imagine the stress this job puts on the president, or his family. We want to thank Former President George W. Bush for his service and his family for their sacrifice of privacy.

But, as we move forward, we hope that President Obama remembers the oath he swore Tuesday and follows through with that promise to defend and protect the Constitution.

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