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Have a Hopeful New Year

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Nations throughout history perished or flourished based upon how well they progressed into a new age. America mastered the industrial age in the early 20th century and, thanks to John F. Kennedy's vision for the future of science in calling for a trip to the Moon, we mastered the age of computers.

This is what our best presidents do. They prod us forward. They nourish our best instincts. They do not just lead our government. They lead us, make us better and, as a result, make us a stronger country.

At the dawn of Barack Obama's presidency, this unique and thoughtful man shows the promise to be one of our best. As with Kennedy, the world looked at him and saw a new America, one that looks and sounds more like the rest of the world.

Americans can look at this new president and also see themselves in a different way. It is not just that he is our first African-American in the White House. Or that he grew up in an unusual mix of places, from Kansas to Indonesia.

Obama has the chance to bring about a new spirit for the country, as Kennedy did. His campaign attracted supporters who had never before been active in politics. They learned that being an American is about taking part, that the genius of our nation and the gift of our best presidents is the preservation of a simple ideal: We run our own country.

Craig blogs daily at craigcrawford.com.