Last night was simply amazing, as girl and I watched history unfold on television as Barack Obama became the 44th man to hold the office of President of the United States. It was a significant moment just after 8 PM pacific when most major news networks called the race over, and then John McCain gave his concession speech. I wasn't sure what to expect after watching 2000 and 2004 unfold with the confusion, anger, court injunctions, reports of voting issues, and then being told each time that G.W. was in charge.
I have respect for the office of president, regardless of the party that holds the office. What I don't have respect for is people in the office who use fear to manage their plans, and make all decisions by trying to scare people into acceptance. This plan only works if your constituents are either too stupid to know what's going on, they are concerned about other things more or they just don't care one way or the other, as they are too easily distracted by the media's flavor of the day, American Idol results or what some drunk starlet is up to now. So instead of coming up with any real ideas about anything, let's distract them with lots of figures, distract them from the real issues with talk, or just say this is evil. You don't gain any respect with this type of leadership, but honestly, it took a near catastrophic financial crisis, two wars, and most of the world disliking the US before people realized that a change needed to be made. And their votes carried a powerful message.
It doesn't matter the color of someone's skin, but the power of their ideas and the passion by which they follow this power in inspiring others. I found Obama's victory speech to be stirring without being too overbearing, and the sights and sounds of people celebrating, crying, dancing, hugging, and generally being happy showed the signs of relief. We actually have someone in the office that we can be proud of, and while it's not going to be easy to get us out of the mess we're in, I feel Obama will set up his team of advisers to give us the best chance to succeed.
And I also felt proud of John McCain, who was extremely gracious in defeat, even yelling at some of his supporters who booed as McCain mentioned Obama's name. He said it was a time to celebrate and bring folks together, and while sometimes you hear that it's just talk, I don't think so with McCain. He's a genuine guy, and someone that I considered voting for in 2000 over Gore and Bush, but somewhere along the way, he aligned himself with groups that changed his positions and he became more conservative and less of an independent thinker.
We live in a rough world, with single issue people demanding time and energy to solve their crisis above everything else, when really this is a time for people to put aside their concerns and do what is best for the greatest good. I get that there are serious concerns, from saving Social Security to getting us out of wars to fixing our financial markets. But we need to allow time for the leaders to come up with a strategy and lead us into this new age. And I think we're all ready for something different, something we can be proud of, and watching it unfold last night was one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed.
Back to the world of sports for a bit, there was a great piece at ESPN's website about Greg Oden from Bill Simmons. Normally, I don't like Simmons' work, as he seemed to be preoccupied with those things Northeast, like the Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, etc. It's great to have your favorite teams, but in a national setting like ESPN is, they tend to be very focused on teams within their area. Just saying, but back to the story, I liked his take on Oden. And so much as I want people to be wrong about Oden, it's hard not to feel a little down after the latest setback.
I can't call Oden a bust, because he's re-energized this fan base in Portland which was already buzzing after last year's 41 win season and 13 game winning streak, and then we add Rudy Fernandez, Jarryd Bayless and Oden to this team, and see what happens. And after Oden's knee injury last year, he's worked hard to rehab, but he's been in the community, doing interviews, representing the team, and generally showing off his personality. Oden is a great interview, and his ESPN commercial last year was hysterical, but because of his draft standing, I think some expectations have been put out there that it would be near impossible to live up to. Greg Oden needs to be a productive member of this team, but asking him to score 20 points a night and 13 rebounds probably won't be needed. As long as he stays healthy and contributes defensively by altering shots and getting rebounds, he makes us a better team. But really now, it's more simple than that for him, really we need him to get healthy and stay that way. My hope is that Oden will put all of this "bust" and "Sam Bowie 2.0" talk to rest, and we'll be the toast of the NBA.
Finally, gee, it's already time to bash the BCS? Well it is November, but I think the point made today on sports radio makes sense. Colleges and conferences don't want a change right now because they are making a ton of money in the current system, so if we want change, we need to approach the television markets and propose the playoff as a way to make money. But another key point is that despite folks being mad about the BCS, the TV ratings are still through the roof the past couple of years. So apparently, college football fans will bitch and moan about the lack of a playoff, but yet still watch the game. I get that the BCS does what it's promised by getting the top teams to meet for a championship, but I haven't watched the last 2 BCS championship games, and I plan to skip this year as well. The system is there to simply make money, and anyone that thinks it will do anything different is just kidding themselves. There's more money and a great incentive to make a playoff system, but as long as the TV ratings are through the roof and they are making decent money, why change?
Ok, folks, the rains are coming in November, so stay dry and warm. Peace oot..