October 24, 2008

A Pensive Walk

I really like this photograph of our next President.

It's a detail of a photo that was taken earlier today by an AP photographer who is assigned to the Obama beat in Honolulu. Hawaii is a pretty reliably Democratic state, but Obama isn't in Hawaii campaigning.

He's there because his grandmother, the woman who did a good part of raising him, is quite ill and may not make it for very many more days. After being with her for a while he went for a walk (along with some terrified Secret Service guys).

I've offered praise for John McCain for some of the classy things he's done along the campaign trail. Obama taking two days off the campaign trail at this state of affairs is as solid of proof as I need that he takes his family loyalties very seriously. Both his mother and father are dead; his grandmother is his only living ancestor. And in a time like that, he has to take some time to come home and be with her, no matter what. Yes, even if he's about to be elected President. Actually, nearly nothing can stop that from happening now but that's not the point. The point is that he's doing a classy thing and that deserves recognition.

What's important is that Obama is doing something deeply human. He's walking around this middle-class/working-class neighborhood, one that he spent time growing up in as a child. He's not out to impress anyone and was probably irritated to see the photographers and the press intruding on what otherwise would have been a very private moment. Seems like he's trying to come to terms with what will be some huge changes for him really soon -- the woman who raised him will be gone, and he will have to shoulder the responsibility of leading the United States of America through what he now must know will be an extraordinarily difficult time. The look on his face really shows that it's starting to sink in for him.

I think it's a good thing that he is taking the time to do that so that he can steel himself for the job. On January 20, 1969, Richard Milhous Nixon put his hand on a Christian Bible, held by Chief Justice Warren Burger, and swore the oath of office to become President of the United States of America. That was, very likely, the last happy day in Nixon's life. Exactly forty years later, Barack Hussein Obama is going to do the same thing. And he's going to have to do it without the emotional support of elders in his family, because they'll all be gone by then.

Now Senator, I didn't vote for you and I have grave doubts about your campaign platform. But I sincerely hope that it works out better for you than it did for your predecessor.

1 comment:

zzi said...

I didn't vote for you but I really didn't vote against you. See I'm not a racist!