Monday, January 19, 2009

U.S. History: A Clean Page

Tomorrow is Inauguration Day and I am planning to drive up to Columbus to watch the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama with some friends. Having worked in the state capitol for the state for over nine years, I naturally made a few friends. One friend, in particular, I have managed to stay in contact since my retirement has invited me to come up and watch and celebrate the inauguration in his offices.

As I wrote a few days ago, this inauguration is not just an important event for those of us in America, but it is also an important event for the rest of the world. Without going into our recent history, the United States lost much of the goodwill that it had been the beneficiary of since the attack on 9/11. Invading Iraq and the success of that venture will remain unclear for some time. What we do now as a country may determine whether the policies of the Bush administration were correct. I am hopeful that the Obama administration can build on the decisions that were made with regards to Iraq and that the United States can repair its image and its diplomatic relationships around the world. Given where we are economically, the United States could benefit from a more peaceful world. While that scenario is highly unlikely, the new administration nevertheless needs to extent a hand of friendship and mutual respect to the other nations of this planet.

If ever there was a president that could recapture the admiration and respect of the peoples around the world, that president is president-elect Barack Obama. If ever there was a time in the history of the United States that the incoming president truly had a clean page of history to write on, it is this new president.

This new era in the history of the United States was made possible by the men, women and children that joined the struggle for racial equality, justice and the civil rights of all in these United States. While we set aside today to remember one man, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for his achievements and his efforts to bring equality, justice and civil rights to all Americans, we should never forget that the struggle started many many years before his life began. Each new generation must remember that his work is never done, that we must work to renew that dream of equality, justice and civil rights for all every day.

Stay tuned.