I am, for the most part, someone who does not believe in God, but I will nonetheless thank him for bringing us to this day.
I would likely have felt this way regardless of who took the oath of office this afternoon, but knowing that a man like Barack Obama is now our President will enable me to sleep more soundly tonight. It is not merely that he appears to have attracted many of the best brains in government to work for him, that he has a generally inquisitive nature well suited for a complicated world, and that he has a steely evenness that one hopes will guide him through the crises to come--all traits lacking in the former model--but that Obama, more than any national politician that I can recall in my lifetime, seems to have a vision for the untapped potential of the country, for unrealized possibilities and concrete thoughts on how to achieve them. We are only at the beginning, and I don't wish to get too caught up in all the flowery prose that has been bestowed on Obama (and I've already had to pucker my face at some of the cabinet nominations), but I do feel better about our government today. A lot better.
One of those minds that Obama collected along the way was a guy named Mike Froman. Typical of the kinds of people with whom Obama has surrounded himself, Froman's resume reads like a where's where of elite institutions: Princeton, Oxford, Harvard, Citigroup. Among many other accomplishments he served as Robert Rubin's chief of staff in the final years of the Clinton administration. He was a classmate of Obama's at Harvard Law and the two have apparently been close friends since; he was one of the key players on the transition team and, given his background with Rubin, likely had a hand in some urgent policy discussions and decisions about the economy.
I bring this up because Froman has been balancing his sense of commitment to Obama's vision while simultaneously coping with his son Jacob's medulloblastoma, a rare brain cancer. On January 16, Jacob succumbed to the disease. I don't know the Froman family personally, but from the looks of Jacob's website they appear to have shown remarkable grace throughout their trials as a family, Jacob in particular.
For those who would like to commemorate President Obama's inauguration in a tangible and meaningful way, please consider a donation to Jacob Froman's foundation, Kids V Cancer. Their website is here, and the address is Kids V Cancer, c/o Jewish Communal Fund, 575 Madison Avenue Suite 703, NY NY 10022. Online contributions can be made here.