Inauguration day countdown: after racial triumph, Obama prepares for the White House

Avra Bossov ('11)/Eastside Global Commentary Editor

November 4, 2008 was a day that made its mark on history, for the nation elected its first African-American President. People of all ethnicities and ages rejoiced as soon as it was projected at 11 p.m. that Barack Obama would win California’s 55 electoral votes. The final electoral count was 364 for Obama, and 163 for McCain. Obama also won the popular vote 53 percent to 46 percent. I myself cried, for America electing this man has shown the world that we need to move in a new direction-and President-elect Obama is ready to lead us. John McCain’s speech was also inspiring and complimented his service to this country, more so than any other individual.However, now that Obama has been elected, he has large shoes to fill, not in terms of his predecessor but of the whole world’s expectations, especially those of the American people. His job within the next 70 days (until Inauguration day) is to make the transition into the White House, and the position itself. Among this transition contains decisions, such as who his Chief of Staff should be, where his daughters (Malia, 5th grade, and Sasha, 2nd grade) should attend school and what his main agenda will actually include. Now is the pivotal moment in Obama’s transition, and all eyes are watching him.

President-elect Obama has chosen Rahm Emanuel to be his Chief of Staff. Emanuel, D-IL, is ranked as the fourth highest member of the Democratic leadership in the House, for he was appointed Democratic Caucus Chair; he has served in Congress since 2003. He is of Israeli descent, and actually carpooled with my father to religious school at the shul. Rahm Emanuel has also had a passion for ballet dancing since youth. Survey says: good choice, Obama! Emanuel will be a true asset to President-elect Obama, in both his heritage and his career experience.

President Bush and First Lady Bush welcomed Michelle and Barack to the White House yesterday. As the President and President-elect roamed the grounds, took a tour of the Oval Office and discussed the path of the nation, the First Lady and First Lady-elect discussed the lifestyle and conditions facing the Obama family. The main topic of discussion lately has been where to educate the Obama children, Malia (5th grade) and Sasha (2nd grade). There are pros and cons for the girls to be educated in either the District of Columbia public schools or in private schools in the area. While the Clintons chose to send Chelsea, age 12 at the time, to the Sidwell Friends School, a private Quaker school, the Carters chose to send Amy to public schools. If the Obamas decide to send Malia and Sasha to public school, they will be keeping the image of everyday Americans by sending the message that public schooling is good enough for their children. If the Obamas decide to send the girls to private school, where tuition is around $30,000 a year, these parents will be investing in their education at the expense of convincing America that public schools are acceptable. As for Malia and Sasha, they will have to be followed by security everywhere no matter where they attend; if they were enrolled in a private school, this would be potentially more common than in a public school.

As far as President Bush’s relationship with President-elect Obama, their relationship has been quite friendly, although it seemed that Obama was running against Bush in this election according to rhetoric. Some may call Obama being hypocritical for being chummy with Bush, but it’s a matter of respect. They are both extremely patriotic men and contrary to prior belief, have the country’s best interests in their hearts of heart. Disrespecting George Bush by not meeting with him and being friendly would be extremely detrimental to both Obama and the nation, for a smooth transition is essential for Obama, since he intends to implement a great deal of what he promised on the campaign trail.

Obama’s transition has been going smoothly thus far, and the next 70 days will be productive. Tickets to Inauguration Day are being distributed by congressmen according to districts. If you are interested in attending, contact your local congressman and explain to him or her why you deserve admission to one of the most important events in our nation’s history. Hopefully I will be among them, and if I am, I will be certain to tell you all about it.