The Nightmare Is Over....Let The Healing Begin
A Brief History That Led Us Where We Are
January 20, 1993, I was driving from Athol to Greenfield, Massachusetts, as the ceremony to inaugurate President William Jefferson Clinton was unfolding. I recall listening on the radio, as I hit the off ramp from Route 2, leading to Routes 5 & 10 in Greenfield, as Vice President Elect Al Gore was administered the Oath of Office. I recall saying aloud, "Thank God, Dan Quayle can't become President."
I made it home just in time to hear President Clinton deliver the first of his two inaugural speeches. The economy, in January of 1993, was in very bad shape, after being mismanaged by George H.W. Bush, and yet I was filled with hope as President Elect Clinton became President Clinton. On the economic front Clinton did not disappoint. On the morals and values front, he was an abysmal failure.
Fast forward eight years, and Democrats nominated Al Gore to be their nominee, and Republicans chose the son of the vanquished Bush. His Presidency was forever tainted in the eyes of many who believe even today that George W. Bush and his brother Jeb stole the 2000 election and served illigitimately for the next eight years.
As it turns out, stealing the 2000 election was a relatively minor infraction compared to the attrocities Bush 43 would commit in Iraq, under the guise of the War on Terror. I have no expectation that President Obama will seek to hold Bush and his administration officials held accountable for their actions, which many Americans consider to be war crimes. I don't see President Obama doing this because his focus will be firmly on the future, and trying to make it as bright as possible.
It amazes me how similar I feel today as I did on January 20, 1993 when Clinton took over the White House. In that transition, a President from the World War II era passed the torch to a President from the Vietnam War era. Today, we have seen another generational shift, as Barack Obama was not influenced by the Vietnam War. He was alive during the Civil Rights Era, but he was not a product of the Civil Rights Era.
Now, as our nation's first African American President, he has the opportunity to fulfill the dreams the Reverend Martin Luther King's dream. He has already passed the first threshold, having been chosen to lead based upon the content of his character, but I think even Reverend King would advise President Obama that there is much work to be done to level the playing field, so all Americans can have a share in the American Dream.
And so now those of us who felt that President George W. Bush was never legitimately elected can take a great big sigh of relief. It is safe to wake up now, because the nightmare is over. President Obama, good luck to you as you begin to heal the wounds that have divided us for so long.