A personal reflection on the inauguration of President Obama

by Susan Getgood on January 20, 2009 · 2 comments

in Politics

A day of change. The first African-American president. A Democratic administration in the White House.

There will be commentary left right and center on today’s events and the president’s speech.  I’m going to leave them to it, and share a personal reflection on this inauguration that has only a little to do with race or our economy or the mess in which George Bush has left this country.

I’m thrilled that George W. Bush is now a private citizen in Crawford Texas and I wish him and Mr. Cheney well in their retirement endeavors. Seriously. Finally. About time.

I share the hope of our nation, dare I say the world, that our new president will approach our problems with purpose and responsibility. Instead of looking for someone (else) to blame.

I revel in the joy of all our citizens – African-American, Caucasian, Native American, Hispanic, Asian-American, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, agnostic, atheist, pagan, everyone – that we elected an African-American to the presidency of this still-great nation and celebrated his inauguration the day after our national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

But Barack Obama as president has meaning to those of us born in the early 60s in a special way. He is the first president who is our age. Who shares many of our life experiences.

I remember when I passed 35, it occured to me that now I was old enough to be president. And now someone who’s my age *is* president.

When the presidential campaigns started more than two years ago, I had hoped to identify with the incoming president due to gender. Instead, I find I am doing so because of generation.

We are an interesting bunch, the children of the early 60s. Some statisticians put us with the Baby Boomers, but we really don’t fit there. We’re too young.

Others put us with Generation X. But that isn’t right either. We’re really too old.

We’re a sandwich group. We grew up during Watergate and the final years of Vietnam, events as polarizing as World War II was to our grandparents. We came of age during the Iran hostage crisis. Our 30s saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. In our maturity, the twin towers fell.

Some of us have children entering college. Others, like me and the Obamas, are still dealing with the trials and tribulations of young children. My son is eight; their daughters, seven and 10.

Many of us shared the experience of parental divorce. We were the Kramer vs. Kramer generation — the first to experience divorce as commonplace among our parents instead of something rare and “Hollywood.”

So, as I watch these inaugural events, while I think about everything that Barack Obama represents, I keep coming back to the fact that he is my age.

My generation is finally in power. This is our chance to change the world.

Let’s not waste it.

What will you do?

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