I've been meaning to take some time to write about the inauguration last week. You didn't have to look to far for articles warning us to not get too invested in Obama, because he will dissappoint us, warning to us to let go of the idealism, and hope we have invested in him. Rather than responding to him with yes we can, we should respond with not in your life. It goes without saying that yes, Obama is not the messiah, and he will fail, but at the same time, I can't help but feel that the hope and engagement in the political debate is a good thing.
While i was thinking about this, I saw a great piece by Richard Glover in the Sydney Morning Herald over the Australia Day weekend, which made the point that emotion matters. Pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and likewise hope and optimism are important emotions too, hope plays a role in change. Its hope that drives many to make resolutions at the end of each year, in this sense hope is energising, and enables us to begin. Realism doesn't have the same motivating force (though perhaps it serves a function in tempering hope).
Obama might make a difference, perhaps, because many are inspired and will work with the administration towards change, change will be a tough road, but each journey begins with one step.
And on a slightly different tact - it was interesting to read a few comments from people (including the Australian of the Year) suggesting a debate around when Australia Day should be held. A debate that gave people opportunities to discuss the meaning and significance of the day. Even, if we keep Australia Day as the 26th, perhaps we can find ways to make the day more culturally sensitive.