Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Baby's first inauguration

Today, as I write this, the country has just sworn in a new leader. Barack Obama has become the 44th president of the United States. Kyle and I watched the inauguration together on television, and he was as riveted as I was by the ceremony. He may be too young to realize what is going on, but I had the feeling that he knows it was something important. He rarely sits still for that long in front of the TV without crying, wiggling, or spitting up on his clean clothes.

Jennifer and I have been thinking of just what this presidency could mean for Kyle. If Obama is successful, he will likely be a two-term president, which would mean that Kyle will be eight years old when he steps down. Obama could very well be the first president Kyle remembers, perhaps the one he writes to in first grade. To Kyle, Barack Obama will be Superman.

Although I was born during the Carter years, Ronald Reagan is the first president I remember. He was my Superman. The big guy with the perfectly-molded black hair had superpowers to fight bad guys like the Soviets or Lex Luthor, while still finding time to talk to school kids and eat jelly beans. To a kid, the president can do no wrong. He more than represents America - he IS America.

So it's incredible to think that the person Kyle will likely adore during his first years of life will be the nation's first African-American president. He probably won't realize the significance of this. To him, having a minority as president won't be anything unusual, just like we, the children of the 80's, grew up accepting that a pope can be Polish, the Japanese can make great electronics, and Darth Vader was Luke's father. Barack Obama is just Kyle's president, and nothing more. Isn't that great?

Indeed, change has come to America, and I'm hopeful my son will live in a country that better accepts differences, and treats people equally. We've always heard that anyone can become president - today we actually saw some proof of that. Maybe... just maybe... someday we'll have the first president named Kyle. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

No comments: