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Kids Speaking Up: Expectations Rise Along with Obama

The president-elect will restore our standing as a nation and in the world.

A new year is always accompanied by expectations. Things that are expected to get better, things that are expected to get worse, or things that we expect will just be different. It is a time to rethink one’s methods, review one’s purpose, and decide upon resolutions for engendering change.

With the upcoming inauguration of our first African-American president, change is something that many people expect to see. Change from Washington insiders, the status quo, the failed policies of the last administration, political pandering, pit bulls wearing lipstick, and a whole slew of other facets of the American political system that are viewed negatively in today’s society. More important, President-elect Barack Obama represents a change in the downward direction in which our country is rapidly moving. The American people have placed in his hands their hope for a stronger economy, a more stable situation in the Middle East, and a healthier planet. But these first days of 2009 suggest that this will be a long and difficult journey, for the whole country.

In just this first week, Israel has attacked the supposedly autonomous region known as the Gaza Strip, the scandal surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has taken on racial undertones, and the economy has been eerily quiet on its plunge downward.  The pundits like to talk about a president’s first 100 days; for Obama, these days have already begun. Already he has had to confront tension in the Middle East, the crumbling financial situation, and the underhanded political maneuvering that he promised to do away with during his campaign. Behind this trio of recently media-popularized problems lie health care, nuclear proliferation, two unpopular wars, and a host of other issues that President Bush left for Obama to handle.

Now, this does not mean that 2009 will just continue to get worse. I, as an informed citizen of the United States, firmly believe that this year, we as a nation will take our first steps back toward that shining pedestal we once occupied as the world’s greatest example of democracy, from which we suddenly appear to have fallen. A convincing majority of people believe that we chose the right man to lead us there, and with their strength behind him, Obama may find those issues more manageable, that world on his shoulders a little bit easier to bear. This year, we can pick ourselves up and take our place at the head of humanity. This year, we must be the change we wish to see in the world. And the message we must keep in our minds is one that won over a nation: Yes, we can.

Justin Morris is a freshman at Dos Pueblos High.

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