Monday, January 19, 2009

Carl Sandburg might have cried

If I were writing Mr. Obama's inaugural address I'd have him quote Sandburg. What line? It could be any one of thousands... there are so many that speak to the optimism of the moment that it simply comes down to personal preference. The grand events of Obama's inauguration remind me of Sandburg's optimism for America. An optimism that was authentic. An optimism that was based in the American ideal that we could be better than we've been, that we can reinvent ourselves when needed. If there ever was that need, I think we're there.

Carl Sandburg would have loved Barack Obama. Carl Sandburg would have campaigned for Obama. He would have written poems for him and I have little doubt he might have cried on this day. They would be tears for the obvious and simple fact (that we will all come to take as ordinary from this day forward) that any American can become President of the United States.

As to the likelihood that President Obama will quote Sandburg on the most optimistic day of the past 8 or even 45 years? I can only hope. But if not, I think it's only a matter of time. In our research for this documentary we've identified that every U.S. president since Roosevelt (with the exception of Eisenhower and surprisingly, Jimmy Carter) have quoted Sandburg while in office. Obama would do well to look at the Sandburg we are making a film about. The one who wrote much more about struggle, repression and greed than he did about fog or Chicago. The one who died with an optimism for American that saw him, and our country, through world wars, the great depression and the darkness and paranoia of the cold war. To die at age 89 with what he wanted... "a child heart". That is no easy task. Could we all be so lucky?

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