Today is January 20th, 2009 and it was a good day. It was one of those days that stands out in your memory as history marches forward. As the paintbrush of time colors in the tapestry of life, what once struck us as broad strokes of the brush fade into subtle outlines. I have no doubts that this day – these memories – will survive the test of time. As I reflect upon this day in history I know that these past 24 hours will forever stand as a cornerstone in the annals of American history. Further, though it is perhaps far less significant to the world at large, today has held incredible significance for me personally and not just because of the presidential inauguration of Barack H. Obama.
Leann Rimes – The Star Spangled Banner
Like many Americans today was special for me. It was the first time in my life that the candidate I had chosen, researched, fought for and supported was elected as President of the United States. It is an amazing affirmation of a political system that, despite its problems, is one of the world’s modern marvels. Today, the majority will of over 300 million US citizens was carried out in a peaceful transition of power between two camps of astoundingly different ideologies and principles…All framed by the backdrop of one of the worlds most powerful military and economic powers. What an amazing thing.
I believe that this transition – this wide stroke of the brush – marks the true beginning of the 21st century. For the last 8 years we have been in flux. As a nation we have been lost, forced to adjust. We have been trudging forward while adhering to outdated philosophies and principles. While other parts of the world began to embrace the 21st century the United States stood confused and unsure of its own identity. The cost has been a devastating economic collapse, a widespread assault on intellectualism and major adjustments across the global political landscape.
I realize that President Obama and his team will not accomplish all that is expected of them. I also realize that the true depths of his moral fiber and vision are untested. Yet I refuse to give up on the belief that he holds the potential to truly be the man we believe him to be. His track record suggests that he harbors the inner potential to truly lead the United States into the 21st century and his platform offers a framework to help America take those steps.
President Obama’s speech today was not flashy. It did not provide great quotes to be regurgitated across the annals of time – but it wasn’t meant to. Today’s speech spoke to the intellectuals among the American people and the world at large. It was a speech that said, “I am here now and I will do everything within my power to do what is necessary.” It was the speech of a humble man with noble character reaching out to his fellows with sleeves rolled up, back bent with the weight of a world that can be. It was a speech that spoke to those of us who have been laboring furiously to keep America strong, to keep America true and to keep America supreme. For me it was a dream come true. It was a speech that re-committed America to true Science. It was a speech that re-committed America to protecting the world that sustains us. It was a speech that re-committed America to the constitution and our roots. It was a speech that re-committed America to education, peace, and prosperity. Equally as significant, it condemned the actions over the past 8 years that pulled us towards catastrophe. Above all, it was a speech that committed America to change – no matter how difficult that change may be – and embraced the needs and dynamics of the 21st century.
Perhaps it’s my perception of the world as a Millennial. Perhaps it’s the result of my travel or upbringing. I find myself in an odd conundrum. While today marks an incredible moment in American history and has turned the tide of hundreds of years of blood, tears and agony, I find myself somewhat detached. I’ve never seen a segregated world. I’ve never lived in an America powered by slavery. Born in 1985, the world I know and have seen is one of hope and opportunity.
I have no illusions as to the presence of stereotypes within myself but I revel in the fact that those are just that…idle stereotypes easily displaced and overcome. My world is one that offers but a glance to race while focusing its scrutiny on the individual regardless of their sex or ethnicity. As the world and America celebrate an historic moment that rightfully has profound meaning to those who at one time attended segregated schools and faced the most insidious forms of hatred, I find myself looking forward. I pause today in profound gratitude to all those who have made this day possible, but equally it’s significance is somewhat reduced for me. For me this is not about the election of America’s first Black President, but rather about what I hope will be one of America’s greatest Presidents.
As I sat watching President Obama sworn into office my younger brother, an individual who I am incredibly close to, was somewhere in the skies over Europe. At the age of 21 he has undertaken an adventure that leaves me awed. He left the U.S. on the evening of the 19th and began the long trip across the Atlantic to London before continuing down toward Italy where he will begin an internship with the US Consulate. The connection between a new president and my brother’s impending period of service truly strengthened my investment and pride in the all that the US is and has to offer. The resulting feeling isn’t something words will convey – all I can say is that the feeling was powerful, unique, and complex. Today marks the start of a major phase of growth in his life and no doubt, through all that he will share, my own.
Food, Reflections & Capitalism
At 5:00PM I left my office in Scottsdale where I work as a Mergers and Acquisitions Analyst. I paused briefly at the market to pick up groceries and then again to purchase a cigar. By 5:30 I was home and after a brief pause set to cooking a special celebratory, albeit experimental, dinner.
Sleeves rolled up I set to it – angel hair rice noodles, two beautiful portabello mushrooms, 1 package of enoki mushrooms, half a yellow onion, 1 pound of peeled fresh shrimp, 6 saved shrimp heads, 4 chopped and diced cloves of garlic, half a lemon, a hearty mix of spices, salt, pepper, olive oil, butter and 1/3 of a bottle of canola oil. Soon I had a bubbling frying pan full of noodles and delicious smelling food. Somehow, some way, the meal turned out perfectly and resulted in an incredible, steaming plate of a pasta/seafood delight.
After dinner and ready to relax I picked up the CAO Criollo Cigar I’d purchased earlier, poured a sipping glass of Effen Black Cherry Vodka on the rocks and made my way outside into Scottsdale’s beautiful, partly cloudy, 75 degree evening. The CAO Criollo was perfect: mild and slow burning with just the right hint of taste. As I sat on the steps of my apartment complex I reflected on the day, the year and all that had transpired. As I sat there watching the stars slowly brighten across the sky I considered my various entrepreneurial projects and decided to finish the evening out with the addition of a new one – the attempted sale of several domain names I purchased back in August.
Truly I live a blessed life. One lived in the greatest country in the world. Today was a good day.