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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Basic Biittner: Thoughts on the new Chief Executive

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On January 20, the United States will inaugurate a new President, Barack Obama. Obama, the 44th President, will, at the age of 47, be the third youngest man to hold the nation's highest office. Teddy Roosevelt, at 42, was the youngest, while JFK, at 43, was the youngest to be elected.

Obama will also be the sixth graduate of Harvard University to hold the office, following John and John Quincy Adams, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, and JFK; the 26th Chief Executive to have practiced as an attorney, and the 14th to have served as a U.S. Senator (the first since Lyndon Johnson); and the seventh left hander, following Garfield, Hoover, Truman, Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton.

Barack Obama will be the first president in many years (if not the first ever) to have more than one child in elementary school while serving in the White House, and he will also be the first President who was born in the state of Hawaii.

Oh yeah - he will also be the first African - American to serve as the President of the United States. So, while Obama has a lot of things in common with the 42 men who preceded him in the office, the proverbial "elephant in the room" (not a reference to Republicans) is the issue of his race.

As one who grew up in the so-called Civil Rights Era, I am very pleased to still be around to see this day arrive, as I wasn't sure it would occur during my lifetime. I purposely saved the detail of Mr. Obama's race until the end of my listing of Presidential facts because - to me - it's not an issue. Though I am realistic enough to realize that it IS an issue for many others in this country. Like the late Martin Luther King jr., I too have a dream about race relations in the United States, and it is summarized by saying, "I have a dream that people will REALLY not notice the color of a person's skin or his ethnicity, or feel the need to make reference to it." We are all members of one race - the human one.

Let's move on, and work together to make this the nation it can be - "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner