Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I'm reading Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope. I bought it on a flight to see my family at Christmas a few weeks ago. I hadn't planned to read it, but the F. Paul Wilson novel I'd brought with me turned out to be one I'd read already, and -- as it's a series -- it made no sense to read it again (yet). So, I found myself staring at the man of the hour on the cover of this tastefully minimal paperback cover. Sure, why not? Maybe I'll see what all the fuss is about.

I did not vote for Obama. I am one of the most cynical people I know. My trust in government faded a long time ago. I had been certain, during the campaign, that Obama was just a prop for the Democratic Party and, in spite of the cool factor of himself and his wife, and the historical impact of a black man running for President in America, it was all just a papier-mâché hat to go with the tired old slogans. Then I started the book.

I'm not one of those who has trouble saying I was wrong. I have to do it a lot. I am also not easily lied to. It's unusual for someone to lie to me without my knowing it. I can't explain how, but I sense it. What I found in Obama's book was the most refreshingly honest assessment of the tired politics of this country that I've ever read. He is an eloquent man, not just charismatic. I know good writing, and he has a gift. But I was struck mostly by the clear statement of what he believed about the potential for Americans to do great things, a power that has been gathering dust for a long time. I found myself agreeing with him on page after page. I began to be suspicious that I was being played by the author. He is, after all, a politician. But further reading only brought more agreement.

I am not a liberal. That's why I didn't vote for a Democrat, even though I always found Obama to be a likable guy. I vote on ideology when I can. McCain's campaign was a disaster, by any measure. I admire him greatly, but it was painful to watch him reciting his scripts. I thought his concession speech was the most gracious and supportive of any I've ever heard (given over the rude behavior of many in the crowd). Honestly, I thought his best face through the entire campaign was the one he wore that night. Sad.

Obama is a sharp politician, better than Clinton I think. And as distasteful as it is for me to say this, sometimes that is a good thing. One of the arguments we always have is over the balance of power in Washington and what color (red or blue) is the Congress. Recalling American Government 101, the President doesn't really "run" the country, though we all fall into that kind of thinking. A President's most important job, the one he (or she, someday) must do well is to lead by example, to cheer on the hopes of the people, to inspire us to pitch in and participate to get the job done. None of that happens if we distrust and oppose our government. That's the problem Obama is talking about in the book. And it's a problem I believe he is more than capable of fixing. It's one he started fixing a year ago when his campaign exploded with volunteers and donations. Now I find myself, like millions of others I once thought were "drinking the koolaid," to be hopeful. I can't wait to see him sworn in today. I am expecting great things from Barack Obama.

By the way, Max Lucado is calling for prayers today. Consider joining us.


  1. A good post. I've wondered about this book. I've heard mixed reviews, now a second positive from someone I know. Maybe I'll get the audio book.

  2. I know I need to be more open minded and this book might be a good place to start.. We certainly need to pray for President Obama and the upcoming years.