We So Rock

We know something big happened this week. The election and inauguration of Barack Obama felt like a combination of New Year’s Eve and the fall of the Berlin Wall. While some conservatives were saying they hope Obama fails, Peggy Noonan observed the inauguration and concluded “we so rock.”

Every time a nation does something big, the members of that nation who are 4 feet tall—the children who are 10 and 12—are looking up and absorbing. Forty years ago, in 1968, that grim and even-grimmer-in-retrospect year of war protests, race riots, taunts and assassinations, our 4-foot-tall citizens would have been justified in thinking that America is a scary place marked by considerable unhappiness and injustice. But the past week they could look up and see either harmony and happiness or peaceful acceptance and resolve. Washington was a town full of families and full of kids this week, and they must have picked up this: Anything is possible in America. We decide to go to the moon and soon it’s “Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.” We decide to cure polio and soon it’s a nation of Wilma Rudolphs, running. We struggle over civil rights and then the young black man raises his hand and says “I, Barack Hussein Obama . . .” We so rock. That’s what 4-foot-tall Americans must have learned this week. A generation that will come to adulthood in 2020 and 2030 and has in their heads this sense of optimism and America-love will likely be stronger for it. It augurs well.

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