Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Change I Want to See, Mr. President

John Ramsey Miller

I missed the Obama inauguration because I was writing something, and I honestly just forgot it was on. By the time I tuned in I’d missed the swearing in, but I read his address online. Although I had my reservations, I think if he can bring about real change in Washington it will be good, if that change makes life better for Americans it will be very good, and if he can fix the economy, it will be a miracle, but one I approve of. If the economy gets better, maybe they’ll work on the fundamentals to help it stay that way. I’ll be watching as his term progresses, and I’ll be hollering at the TV a lot. I’m a TV talker and it drives my wife crazy. My grandmother talked to the TV, answering any questions the actors asked with personal comments. Once I heard her address James Arness, Matt Dillon, tersely when he asked Miss Kitty a question, “mind your own business! You don’t know me that well.” She wasn't in control of her faculties, but she had a good time in Lu-Lu Land and it entertained us kids. I tend to be sarcastic and abusive when something on the TV touches a nerve. When Justice Roberts flubbed the oath because he didn’t have crib notes, if I'd been Obama I would have said, “Check the damned script, your honor!” I also suspect that Chief Justice Roberts used the Hussein part of the President’s and messed up the text on purpose because Obama opposed his nomination to be the Court cheese. I think he thought it would make Obama look silly, if he knew the oath and said it correctly. Imagine just one of them had practiced over and over in front of his Blair House mirror the night before.

The publishing and book-selling industry is no doubt getting a lot of business from the spate of Obama books that have shot from the presses like stomped shrimp, but it won’t inspire anybody to start reading other books, the way Harry Potter did. So (in a way) President Obama is helping the economy and he didn’t have to give the publishers billions of dollars of tax money. However, that said, books are one of the few our country actually still produces from raw material to finished product. Well, that and cheese. And books are as necessary as weapons for our armed forces. The sharing of knowledge is paramount to maintaining our country’s greatness, and literacy is a national treasure. The best thing about Obama being elected is that inner city youths can see the value of education and how simple knowledge can get you ahead in life more surely than a trick shot on the basketball court, or throwing or catching a pass accurately under pressure. I hope this spurs an interest in reading, and that everybody benefits from it, which they’d have to. Stupidity is forever, but ignorance is fixable.

I found it astounding that out of two million visitors to Washington on Tuesday, there was not one arrest related to the people attending the inauguration ceremonies. They did make one hell of a mess. The Mall looked like Woodstock after that event. Astounding. Woodstock, in comparison, even given the love-and-peace theme, didn’t even come close since a lot of the music worshipers were arrested, beaten, overdosed on that brown acid and stuff like that. Seriously, I have never seen so many smiles and people who’d, in a lot of cases, given up a lot to get to DC and went to a lot of trouble to be in attendance. I find that amazing, awing, heartwarming and hopeful. If this man can bring so many different kinds of people together in such a joyous manner then there is hope. The President is just a figurehead really. He can do a lot officially like start wars, and earmark stimulus money, and raise hell on TV, but it's just a shame that he’s going to be working with the same old people who are corrupt and shortsighted and nearsighted and greedy for mo power.

I like to think there is hope and that reading will become popular once more with young people as it was with my generation. People are still reading, buying books, When I was fourteen my mother enlisted me in The Book of the Month Club, and I chose my books and I waited for them to come the way kids wait anxiously for a new video game. If Obama can do just that––just bring back a sense of awe for books by his example, I’ll be in awe of him. That’s the kind of change I’m looking for. Have at it, Mr. President, and best of luck.


  1. Nice overview of a great event, John. Tuesday was a day of extremes; extreme hope in a sea of extreme crisis. The drama being played out in Washington and our economy is as good as any high concept thriller. Let's hope the good guys win.

  2. I thought Obama's speech was inspiring. Let's hope the next four years live up to it. I'm praying for him. He has a big job ahead.
    When my kids first learned to read I was determined to hook them on books. I'd find one that seemed to match their interests and then read to them as a bedtime story. I'd get to the most exciting part and ...yawn...telling them I was too tired to read anymore and it was bedtime anyway. They'd get upset and tell me I couldn't stop there! They wanted to know what happened! So, I'd tell them they could leave the light on and read for 15 more minutes. The 15 more minutes rule was in place for years and both kids are avid readers now. Also any accomplishment (good grades, etc) would garner a trip to the book store as a reward.
    I think its up to the parents to ignite the reading flame first.
    The question do we ignite the parents?

  3. Great Post.And I do truly hope that folks see the great success of an educated man who applies his knowledge wisely.

    Knowing if a person reads or not can be quite telling about their talent and abilities. Nonetheless, seeing a person hold a book, or even talk intelligently about one may not mean much. Cliff Notes ruined my concept of smart sounding people long ago.

    I think the test is waffles.

    Is he a real home made waffles from scratch kind of guy or an Eggo kind of guy. Or is he a quiche or a cold cereal kind of guy. That's the test that reveals the most. How does the person start their day. Or even what they eat in general.

    Clinton had a penchant for McD's and young chicks. Fast, sort of tasty, but a little messy and your not really sure what that's made of or if those stains will ever come out.

    Bush was a beer & pretzels sports fan kinda' bloke. Shoulder slapping, hooah shouting, one of the guys. He'll get'r done, but may have made a promise in the heat of the moment that'd be hard to keep. He'll stick by his commitment, even in failure.

    I wanna know just what the Honourable BObama eats at the crack o' dawn, at noon, or at night when no one else is watching. Then I'll make my decision.

    So let's see what he chokes down, chokes on, or what chokes on him and I will tell you what this new World’s Most Powerful man will be like.

    Cuz I'm psychic like that