Happy Inauguration – Jan 21, 2009

from the Lincoln Journal Star

barack obama inauguration health care pete stark stimulus infrastructure tax cuts

I found out about 10 minutes before I needed to have my final idea approved that I could submit an Inauguration idea, so this was a pretty extemporaneous and unfiltered collection of thoughts. Usually my LJS cartoons are pretty restricted to local issues, but my editor thought it was a unique enough occasion that I could step out of those usual confines.

I was motivated to respond — maybe too bitterly — to the gleefully ignorant cynicism that many seem to think is interchangeable with critical analysis. I’m sure I’ll disagree with a lot of what comes of the next four years in the name of compromise and inclusion, but what inspires me and fills me with hope about this administration is the willingness to discuss these issues as adults — and the desire to be the government for all Americans, not just the ones who voted for the winner.

There will obviously continue to be those who call you anti-American for supporting capital gains taxes, or that you want the terrorists to win because you support gay marriage; there will also be those who call you racist for opposing any of Obama’s ideas. But the way in which things like health care and transportation and urbanization are being discussed intelligently by people who disagree is fascinating, and it’s a definite transformation over the past few months and a stark contrast to the past eight (and sixteen?) years.

I give total credit to Obama and his insistence on elevating discussion. I honestly do not believe this would be happening the way it is with McCain, Romney, Clinton or Edwards as president. As George Packer said yesterday, “What he’s always been is a great explainer, who pays the rest of us the highest compliment—the appeal to reason.”

2 Responses to Happy Inauguration – Jan 21, 2009

  1. theotherneill says:

    16? Yeah, 16. 16 years ago Clinton became president and Rush became #1 in radio. This started the political food fight we’ve had for 16 years.

  2. Ryan Anderson says:

    This really is a great piece of work, Neal. And even more impressive that it was off the cuff! You hit the nail on the head with your commentary – so often we confuse cynicism for seriousness, a sentiment that was at least understandable during our long national nightmare but which is perfectly ill-suited to the opportunity before us right now.

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