Richard Carnes: It all changes today |

Richard Carnes: It all changes today

Of course it does, for today is the day we officially have a new president of the United States, a new lead actor on the world’s stage, a fresh image with which our nation can reassert herself as the Top Dog, Numero Uno, King of the Really Big Hill and Big Man on (the World’s) Campus.

Other than that, it’s not really such a big deal.

Therefore, I strongly suggest, whatever version of the past eight years you wish to follow or cling to, that you accept the fact that the Bush administration is over, and now it is time to move on.

Whether you believe the previous 3,000 days were spent erecting the walls of freedom around the world or ripping down the protective barrier known as the Constitution, we all have to deal with the consequences either way. And this applies equally to both kinds of Americans: Republicans and Democrats.

But make no mistake about it ” President Obama may or may not be a lot of things, but the one attribute we can all agree upon is that he is an American and as of this morning our legally elected commander in chief.

What’s sad, of course, is those of you who just yelled out loud at the newspaper, “But he was born in Kenya!” or “But he’s a Muslim!” or even the infantile “But he’s black!”

Not only did you just embarrass yourself with your ignorance, you probably annoyed the neighbors.

For Pete’s sake, get over it, and yourself.

The United States has a distinguished history of great men who have been president (and a few not so great), yet not a single one of them is on record attributing his success (or failure) to the color of his skin.

Yes, chances are good that Abe Lincoln, at some point before heading out for a mind-numbing night at the theater, said something along the lines of, “You know Mary, I don’t think we could have won that war if I were a negro,” but that’s not the point.

And, OK, so Obama is only half black, but that’s not the point either (and no, it doesn’t matter which half).

When Chief Justice Roberts administers the oath of office this morning, we should all, at least for the moment, stand tall as Americans in unison, not allowing our prejudices and stereotypical fears to tarnish a moment of which each of us should feel proud to be a part.

While his economic proposals are bold to some and suicidal to others, and a few of his appointments are questionable at best, the results are mere merely guesswork at this juncture, neither side actually able to confidently predict or even anticipate what the future holds.

President Obama will succeed in some ways and fail in others, and if the majority of us don’t like the results, we’ll just elect another one in a few years anyway, so what’s the big deal?

Besides, here in Happy Valley we have much bigger issues to deal with at the moment, as our property tax bills should arrive in the mail today.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at

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