A New President

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | Jan 17, 2009

"Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair. "
George Burns

On January 20, 2009 Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. Not only will he be our second youngest President, he will also be the first African-American to hold the highest office in the land. What an historic moment this is indeed. 

Ever since November 4 when Barack Obama was elected, we have all had another front row seat of an amazing power-shift from one political party to another. When elections in places like Kenya create riots and horrific bloodshed, our peaceful American transition is a sight to behold. The cooperation evidenced by the photos of our 43rd President and the soon-to-be 44th President in the White House talking cordially together really is amazing. 

Of course, we all know America is not perfect. We hear of voter fraud and we've experienced more than our share of distasteful conduct from every political party during our political campaigns. Our politics can get very dirty, messy, and even clumsy. 

And though we all want to move quickly into this New Year with abundant optimism for this new administration, I cannot avoid a few reflections on the way in which we elect our President. 

Surely, we don't have to take so long to make our decision. Do we really need two (2) full years? Can we not streamline the primary season? Can the conventions be earlier in the summer? Do we really need to be undecided for all of those months? 

Surely, we can spend less money. Will we always have an uneven playing field because one candidate can raise more money than another? Do you get as uncomfortable as I do when we hear how much money was spent on these campaigns? Are we being good stewards of the world's resources when we spend so much on our campaigns and the many places in our world have so little? 

Surely, we can be more objective in our reporting. Is there any way we can hold the media accountable for its flagrant biases? How unfortunate that a news network becomes known for its political persuasion. Besides, No liberal or conservative candidate can be that good or that bad. 

Surely, we can be more civil in our public discourse. Why do we have so many sarcastic and vitriolic ads? Why is there such rancor in the tone of our campaigns? I am weary of the excuse that it is just part of campaigning. I am embarrassed by the way we talk to and about each other. 

Surely, we can figure out how to tally our votes. Will we always have problems with voting machines and tallying systems? Can we not solve this once and for all? 

We now have time before our next election to address some of those problems. I think we are all ready for them. I know I am. If we don't, before we know it we will hardly turn around twice and we will hear these all-too familiar words "...and I approve this message." 

But for now let's turn our attention on Inauguration Day 2009. Let's join our hearts, hands, resources, and ideas to tackle our many problems. Let's celebrate that a new day is upon us. 

Let's celebrate the success of our American political process and this rich historic moment. Let's commit ourselves to do our part to make America greater than ever. 

Will Barack Obama become a great President? If he makes good decisions he will be a great President. If he makes bad decisions he will not make a great President. 

As he stands on the steps of our capitol and the whole world watches as he takes the oath of office, we trust and pray his decisions will be good. 

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
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