January 20th, 2009. 12:32 pm. The inauguration address has just ended. We can now say "President Barack Hussein Obama." At the same time, I am unemployed and things are not looking good. My college degree is utterly worthless and I'm looking at restaurant jobs.
But who can kill the optimism in the air? You can't deny that no matter how bad things are, there's a feeling of electricity never felt before for our generation. No one cared about politics, and many people downright loathed the system. I got my "Worst President Ever" T-shirt in 2003, when I started to realize what was going on. I just couldn't believe people were supporting the actions and programs of George W. Bush.
The viewpoint has completely changed. Bush isn't even relevant anymore, and hasn't been for the last 3 months. Everyone is hopeful. Everyone is excited for the future. Everyone thinks it can only get better from here. Despite the economy. Despite the Middle East. Despite the environment. Despite the education system. Everything is going to improve.
I will never forget the night Obama was elected. We were soldering resistors to the circuit board that would later become the theremin. I had no expectations for victory. I remember a quote from a friend's blog that said:
"if you're in New York, and you vaguely recall some slight issues of voter fraud, and there's an abandoned car on fire down your block, the Repubocons gone done and stoled it again. However, if you see more beer bottles on the street than usual, Obama has won."
I think we all expected defeat. We've been used to it. Remember 2004? It was like someone had died. No one could believe Bush got re-elected. How? After all the screw-ups and the endless war in Iraq, how could he get re-elected? It seemed inevitable that it would happen again.
It must have been around my third rum and coke and 55th resistor that I realized we had won. Not only did Obama win, but our generation won. The country won. The world won. There were about fifteen of us watching the acceptance speech. We all hugged and celebrated. I cried a bit. I don't think anyone could possibly understand what the election meant to younger generations. This was OUR future. This was OUR election. So many people, promising to move to Canada, to Europe, to Asia if McCain had won. This time they were serious. Faith in the United States was depleted. It was embarrassing to be a U.S. citizen. We were bullies. We were arrogant. We were rednecks. We loved guns and beer and fightin' for justice.
We had to cling to satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephan Colbert. We got our gratification from the most scathing attacks on the president. With his level of corruption, it wasn't hard either. There was no hope that ANYTHING we believed in would be supported by the Bush administration. Environmental improvement was useless. Peace in the Middle East? Not a chance. I watched No Child Left Behind dominate my 11th grade English class as the Great Gatsby was eliminated to make room for more practice tests. Unemployment skyrocketed in the last year and a vast majority of my friends had no health insurance. We ALL needed this.
On November 4th, 2008 I cried with everyone. I ran down Atherton Street with Sean and ran into Dave Pfister, crying and waving an American flag. We were patriotic again. We were proud of our country. The president was one of us. He knew what needed to be done and was going to strive to do it. Common sense had won. Science had won. Intelligence had won. Peace had won. We knew it was going to be hard, but we were looking forward to the challenge. We were motivated.
We went to the Phyrst and danced all night. It was true, there would be more beer bottles on the street than usual. It was going to be a great Wednesday morning. Everyone who had been working on this campaign would realize their work had meant something. Everyone I knew who stood on the street for six hours a day, that would amount to a brighter future. Finally, everything we had endured would pay off.
Our generation is taking our place as the relevant force of the country. We will be making the decisions and working for causes we believe in. Our government will hear our voice and our president will work for us. The rest of the world will not look upon us with disdain and anger, but with benevolence and support. It is a uniting moment for everyone. We are now Americans. And damn proud of it.
I know there are many people who do not share this viewpoint. I know there are people, even close friends of mine, who are skeptical. I know there will be people who will attack this entry, saying I am naive, blindly following a man that has yet to prove his worth. He's all personality they'll say. He's inexperienced. This is all true, and he DOES have yet to prove himself. But I am confident that he will. Just wait a few years, and then comment on it. If there's nothing to look forward to, what's the point of hoping?