America is sizzling with excitement as Barack Obama is about to take the oath of office, and become the 44th President of the United States. Rarely do we have a national moment where we come together and rejoice in the progressive tradition that makes the whole world pay attention.
Clearly the most dramatic and important part to this story is that America elected its first African-American to be the next Democratic President. There is indeed great pride to be felt in the heart of every citizen who knows our history, and fought hard for this day.
But there are also other reasons for a large segment of the nation to feel excited. Citizens from my generation, the latter part of the baby boom, are witnessing the first person of our generation to assume the powers that come with the Oval Office. At age 46, left handed, and with a slim build I feel somehow connected with Barack Obama. I can say without hesitation that our country needed Obama to win based on a long list of policy goals, but I can also say I wanted Obama to win because it is time for my generation to lead from the White House.
Over the past weeks I have thought often about the fact someone from my generation is about to lead the country. It was only 20 years ago when a close buddy and I were musing about this topic back at the State Capitol, and could not seem to image what it would be like when the day arrived that our generation would take power in the nation. Back at that time we were also wondering what we could achieve if we could only harness all our sexual thoughts and energy and turn them into productive actions. Those were heady days of dreams, and living life without being too serious all the time. Somewhere between that time and today we all changed, and moved as we always do into the future.
Today my friend is married, has two children, and a lawn to mow. I have a committed partnership, and lots of sidewalk to shovel. Over our lifetimes we have always looked to Washington to hear our elders fashion policy, speaking with authoritative tones when the times were tough, and the country needed to be lifted up. All of a sudden that is about to change as Barack Obama is sworn into office. All of a sudden our generation is the authoritative voice in the land.
I looked into mirror this morning and wondered if I should feel older as the result of history turning the page. I glanced out the front windows at the large mounds of snow I have created this winter, and thought if it was a bit childish. Then I thought about Barack Obama admitting with a wide grin this weekend that it was fun to pull the cord on the train and make the whistle sound. I have always argued that retaining some childlike qualities is a healthy thing, and was pleased to know that even our new president can enjoy such things.
History shows that great leaders are fashioned by the times they live, and the issues that they confront. I am quite certain that the gravity of the economic crisis, and the international tension, will allow for Barack Obama to meet the test of history, and place my generation in a most favorable light for the history books that will be written.
It is time.