It has been less than a week since the inauguration of the new President and I am still feeling the pride we as Americans should all feel. I feel the pride in the fact that America has made one more step towards the fulfillment of the promises of our founders. I feel the pride in the fact that for over 200 years we have changed leaders without military action or bloodshed. I feel the pride in knowing the Presidency is always bigger than just one man or woman.
We all know the promise that all men are created equal. Through the decades America has not always lived up to that promise but we as Americans will always be the first to point that out. Rather it is the ideal we strive for, the perfect game pitched, the perfect SAT score, which we recognize as a goal. We always try to go forward. Sometimes we make progress, sometimes we dont. Each new plateau reached brings us ever closer to the ideals of democracy and equality that were written down in 1776. When we get there we look around and say So, this is what it looks like. When we get that kind of image in our heads it is an incredible motivator for the next torch bearer or bearers to bring us forward.
What other country on Earth can claim a bloodless, orderly change of the head of state for 225 plus years? What other country can say it has never had a military coup in that long? In the countries with a monarchy the king or queen usually must die for the next one in line to be granted the title. In the dictatorships the guy with the backing of the Army usually prevails. In America we demand and expect the transition of power to be neat, orderly, and decisive without the intervention of our military. In America we have a loyal military that always serves the country and not any one man.
The Presidency has been around as long as America. There has been many a man that has risen to the challenges of the office. Before George Washington was elected President he gave up his commission as General of all the Armies. No other person with that much total power had ever given it up. When the other generals wanted to overthrow the Continental Congress and install him as a king-like head of state, it was Washington himself that talked them out of it. One of his more famous quotes is I did not fight a war against George the Third to become George the First. During the Civil War Abraham Lincoln was battling depression in his own life as well as a war. He was, arguably, the only man that could have kept the union together. He was willing to do anything to keep the States United. The list is staggering: FDR, Kennedy, and Teddy Roosevelt in the last 100 years alone have been recognized as some of the greatest Presidents in history. Not for whom they were but for whom they had to become as President. No scandal great (Watergate) or small (Monica Lewinsky) has ever been able to tarnish the Presidency permanently.
I do not envy President Obama. Not only does he have the hardest job in the world but he gets to take over in the middle of the biggest depression in almost 100 years while a war is going on. I truly hope (Rather selfishly I might add.) he will be the type of President that future generations will be able to put in the same category as a Washington or Lincoln. I wish him the best of luck. He will need it.