"Slarrow" refers to the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" from Hamlet's soliloquy. Here are the chronicles of such darts and whatever attempt there may be to take arms against such a sea of troubles.

Location: Ozarks, United States

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Farewell, Mr. President

Lost in the midst of all the gushing about "the first black president" (which isn't the proof of "moving beyond race" that people think it is) is the departure of a good and decent man. A popular leadership phrase is, "It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit" (attributed to many in different formulations, including Reagan.) President Bush, it seems to me, really has lived by that credo, much to the admiration and frustration of his supporters.

I recall the final days of President Clinton, desperate to accomplish something so that he wouldn't go down in history as an also-ran who got impeached. I recall the classless way he exited the role. This president, though, knows he has accomplished much. He looks to me like he's just trying to stay strong enough to hand the baton to the next runner. He doesn't have to finish the race; he just has to keep us in a position to win. I admire the man and am grateful that he has been president these last eight years.

I do not trust Barack Obama, but I do not wish him ill at this point. For better or worse, in a couple of hours, he's The Guy. I think he's making mistakes by allowing the expectations to grow so high (using Lincoln's Bible, for instance.) It may very well that today will be the high point in his presidency; symbolism has a short shelf life. I do expect that though he enters the job looking 35, he'll exit it looking 65; it's the loneliest, hardest job in the world, and no one else can do it for him, no matter what the celebrities say.

But as everyone else is looking Forward for Hope and Change, I prefer to give grateful thanks to a man who has run the race and fought the good fight. Godspeed, Mr. President.