The T-shirt I am wearing is twenty years old. Twenty years. That's a damn long life for a flimsy piece of cotton. Those of you who have known me for a while may know which shirt I mean. On the front, it bears the inscription "January 19, 1989," while the back reads "Ron's Last Day."
A lot has changed in the past twenty years, but apparently not enough. Today is January 20, 2009, and we are celebrating again the departure of a Republican president who has done more damage than we thought possible. This time, thankfully, he's not being replaced by his own vice president. Instead, we have Barack Obama, the centrist miracle worker.
Man, I hope he can work the miracles some are expecting. If I were one o' them faithful types, I might pray that he can. But I'm not expecting them. Don't get me wrong; I voted for the man and I don't regret that, but I didn't vote for him because of his liberal credentials. I voted for him because of his populism. Really.
I bought his populist rhetoric because that's the only way populism can work. You need to drink that Kool-Aid, or it loses its punch (See the pun there? Like that?). I believe in the inherent virtue of populism, even though I see the many, many problems "the people" have. Despite that, I believe that involving more people in politics is always a good thing, even if the results are bad. And Obama does that.
So, by the way, did Reagan, at least for a little while. Let's hope that The One has a longer populist life span than The Gipper, because I'm certain he can do much, much better things with his populism than Ronnie ever did. I just don't think he'll do them for the queer, radical, anti-Zionist folks like me.
Ambivalence is better than anything I've felt about a president in my lifetime. For now, I'll take it. When I have to wake up to Rick Warren at 8:30 tomorrow morning, I may not feel so charitable. But even with the hatemonger kicking things off, it's still bound to be better than most of the last twenty years.
Anybody want to make some T-shirts?