If there’s anything I hate, it’s a winner who gloats.
Which is one reason I haven’t written much about Obama’s victory last month. That — and the knowledge that he’ll have his failures and we’ll be disappointed by him eventually to some extent or another. I’m 59, I’m an adult, I’ve mostly given up childish things like great and unrealistic expectations.
But, still. In the meantime, every day I get up and hear some news about his administration-in-waiting and I feel comforted and relieved.
He speaks in complete sentences! His subjects and verbs agree.
He seems to believe in science, as opposed to extremist ideology and fairy tales.
He evidently sees the world as the great and complicated place it is, as not easily understood. (Hey, people in other countries have different cultures. They’re different from us. Imagine that.)
He knows we’ll probably never be welcomed as liberators anywhere. Hopefully, he’ll never insult our intelligence by claiming otherwise.
He appears to be appointing people who don’t always agree with him and won’t try to protect him from the truth.
When he has the opportunity to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, it won’t be a right-wing lunatic like Scalia or Thomas.
He’ll close Guantanimo.
He thinks torture is anti-American. (You see how low the bar has been set? I am thrilled by this knowledge.)
He’s thoughtful. He’s a writer. He respects the English language. (God, I’m a sucker for a smart man with intellectual curiosity.)
I know it’s early, it’s too soon. Hell, he’s not even president yet. But already I feel so much better.
I can watch and listen to the dazzling wordplay of the Current Occupant of the White House (“We’re fighting Al Quaeda in Iraq,” he recently told a newscaster, who answered, “But they weren’t there before we invaded the country.” As Bush put it in his usual thoughtful and introspective way: “Yeah. So what?”) and comfort myself that his days are dwindling. Hasta la vista, vaquero.
But still, as the Current Occupant cautions us with a straight face, history will be the judge of his legacy. Why, look at Harry Truman and his dismal approval ratings when he left office.
Harry Truman, the self-made man who bristled with honesty. Harry Truman, who said, “The buck stops here.” Harry Truman, who’s now widely considered to be one of our greatest presidents.
I look at Harry Truman. Then, I think, Yeah. So what?
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)