Favorite

Clear-eyed and hopeful 

Clear-eyed and hopeful

President Bill Clinton left a peaceful and prosperous country to his successor, George Bush. Eight years later, Bush's successor begins his presidency with no such advantages.

And no illusions, either. “Our nation is at war,” Barack Obama  said shortly before his inauguration. “Our economy is in crisis. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes. They're worried about how they'll afford college for their kids or pay the stack of bills on their kitchen table.”

He could have added that America's health-care system is broken, and our air and water polluted, but he'd made his point, which is that Americans have ample reason to be fearful and despondent. But, he quickly added, they mustn't be, and he's not. Instead, he's hopeful, he told a huge crowd, and what gives him greatest hope “is you — Americans of every race and region and station who came here because you believe in what this country can be and because you want to help us get there.”

This is not just talk. Obama seems to have inspired Americans to do their best, especially young Americans, more than any new president since John Kennedy. Clinton did it to an extent, but his efforts were hampered by a hostile news media. The media have been generally kind to Obama, and the Internet has weakened Big Media's influence for good or evil.

To be sure, it's not just the young that Obama excites. Only the cynical could be unmoved by the sight of 89-year-old Pete Seeger singing “This Land is Your Land” at an Obama rally on the Capitol mall. Seeger is of a generation that believed this country really did belong to all its people. America is a more generous place when it listens to the Pete Seegers in its midst.

And then there's race, of course. Maybe Americans will eventually be able to not notice that Obama looks different from his predecessors. We haven't reached that point yet, but his election shows that race is not as large an issue as it once was, and if he proves to be the kind of president America needs right now, it will shrink even more.

The kind of president America needs right now is someone both high-minded and practical, soft-hearted and hard-nosed, which is to say the kind of president that it has always needed. Some satisfy  the demand. Some, like Bush, fall terribly short. Criticism of the former president may be redundant at this point — of few people can it be so truly said that his record speaks for itself — but it's essential that the new administration avoid the ideas and attitudes of the old. President Obama has so far shown no inclination to smirk. That alone is encouraging.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Bishop's first sentence might constitute the holy grail of sentence diagramming. Bishop, if you pass…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • The first commandment directly contradicts the first amendment.

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Arkyguy, try Numbers 31:17-18.

      Bishop?

    • on July 21, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation