Is Our New Hero A Harbinger?

What strange times these are.

You don’t need me to tell you yet again how despicable the outgoing president and his let-them-eat-cake administration have been. I’m not alone. And it’s not just partisans who now realize what a revolting development W’s eight years in office turned out to be.

I shan’t dwell on it. In 48 hours, W will be free to crony up with oil buddies every day for lunch without having to worry about a country to lead. He can concentrate on spring training without silly old position papers to attempt to digest. It’ll be a good thing for him. A better thing for the rest of us.

But that’s not the only odd thing goin’ on.

Poor Barack Obama. He has an economic depression to deal with, a record deficit to erase, a war to end, the Middle East yet again in turmoil and an out-of-work populace scared to death that food lines are right around the corner.

But that’s not the worst of it for the new president.

He’s also been the beneficiary — if you will — of exalted expectations. Not only have the Ann Coulters of the world been setting him up for failure. Also those that love the guy, voted for him and are relieved that somebody with intelligence and leadership qualities will be running the state, aren’t helping either. The guy’s been turned into a savior and he hasn’t been sworn in yet.

Plus he’s got a puppy to buy.

We are a nation badly in need of leadership. And heroes.

Enter Chesley B. Sullenberger III.

He’s a pilot. As if you hadn’t already heard. By all accounts, he’s a very good one. “A pilot’s pilot,” according to his wife.

You know the story. His plane took off over Manhattan Island. His engines sucked in a flock of birds. (Alfred Hitchcock would be so proud.) Without power, Sully stayed cool and glided that silver bird into the icy drink of the Hudson River. One passenger broke both legs. Nobody else was physically hurt.

Sullenberger stayed a pro throughout. Calm. Cool. Triumphant.

And, as we are wont to do in this instantaneous age, we immediately dubbed him: HERO.

It might have been appropriate to wait for the black box recorder evidence, the perspective that might come after, say, 48 hours. Which is not to say that the man deserves every bit of adulation he is receiving, and accepting with such humility.

But, no. We need a warm moment now, er, yesterday.

We’re impatient for something to make us feel good. Anything. Something to invigorate us. Something to empower our hope that competence and leadership under fire will lead us from our country’s travails.

Is it coincidence that this Sullenberger situation comes along the weekend before we switch presidents?


Maybe not.

But it underscores why we as a nation, elephant and donkey alike, are investing so much in Barack Obama. We sense his qualities of leadership. We sense his grasp of the situation.

We pray that, like Chesley Sullenberger III, he is able to land our divebombing state safely, in tact. With the resources in place to rejuvenate this country we love and believe in.

There’s no Black Box necessary to figure that out.