01/11/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Change Can Be Scary

Change is always a difficult thing to go through because change comes with an element of the unknown. For most change is scary, but for those who are deeply unhappy with the status quo, change is hope. Change is the chance for a welcome respite from the pains of the past, but the fear of the unexpected still exists, even for those who welcomed change. Many in the progressive blogosphere, including myself, voted for the change that Obama claimed to be, but as he began naming his cabinet, (many of whom worked with the Clinton administration or are centrists, even right leaning voices) we became exceedingly worried, wondering what happened to all the promises of change we had heard. But these dreadful feelings are no ones fault but our own, because what Obama has done thus far is more of a change from Bush than any of us envisioned.

Bush's cabinets were an array of lobbyists, partisan hardliners, and warmongers. There were no opposing viewpoints, no one to expand ideas or bring a different perspective, just a bunch of yes men. If Obama did the same thing, even though he would be doing it on the other side of the political spectrum, it would have just been a different side of the same coin. What Obama has done is really change; he is changing the culture of the presidency and restoring, as The Economist said, "glorious, glorious competence." He is putting together a team that he feels is highly qualified and capable, not people who pass some political litmus test. Part of what made Bush such a destructive force was just that, his politicization of every department, which removed all credibility and competence from our government and Obama isn't one to follow suit, instead he is clearing out political appointments and making his appointments based on qualifications.

Does this mean that I am happy with all his cabinet appointments? Not at all, but I can't truthfully say that he went back on his promise of change. What he is doing is an extreme change from the political culture we have had in Washington. However, what he has done also means that the onus is upon him to set forth the progressive policies that he campaigned on. No one forced him to assemble this "Team of Rivals," he chose to do it, and having done so it is now his responsibility to push the agenda that he promised through a cabinet that could, very often, be at odds with these ideas. President-Elect Obama himself seems to realize this, as he acknowledge in his recent press conference when he stated "the buck stops with me." If he is able to do it, we will all praise him, and rightfully so, for being an amazing president who was able to truly lead people, not only those working with him but the nation as a whole. However, if he is unable to, we will always have to wonder if his cabinet appointments hindered him from fulfilling what we elected him to do.

It comes back to uncertainty, fear of the unknown, especially during times of change. Obama still has not been sworn in, it will be many weeks before he is officially president, all we can do now is wait and speculate. We are all scared of what could happen, after the last eight years many of us have become quite accustomed to fearing the worst and seeing it come true, but we need to take a deep breath and calm down. This is a new president, with a new attitude, and a desire to change Washington and the country for the better, the question now is does he have the will to do it, and that is a question that can only be answered by his actions as president. There's plenty of reason to be nervous right now, but there is no reason to begin tearing him down before he has even taken office, so let us keep our virtual torches unlit and our virtual pitchforks stowed away until we have good reason to form an angry internet mob.