In Aspen, Obama offers hope | AspenTimes.com

In Aspen, Obama offers hope

Janet UrquhartThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN On a quiet, sunny Tuesday morning, Aspenites and visitors alike paused in front of TV screens and computer monitors to watch newly inaugurated President Barack Obama usher in an era of hope.Much has been made of the historic nature of Obamas achievement as the nations first black president, but in Aspen where the local black populace might be counted on one hand the significance of his presidency was wrapped not so much in race, but in optimism.Zak Fields, a 29-year-old from southwest Missouri, delayed his day on the slopes of Aspen Mountain to catch Obamas inaugural speech on a television screen at Cafe Ink!/D&E Ski and Snowboard Shop with a small, but rapt crowd. He defined the moment as historic simply because it offered him something in which he can believe.It has nothing to do with the race thing. I just feel that change is finally here that America can move forward, Fields said. Optimism thats the word.That was the speech I was hoping for, added fellow Missourian Jonathan Baltzell, after Obama called on the country to rebuild itself by renewing the traditions of hard work, honesty and fair play, tolerance, loyalty and patriotism. At the J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome, a handful of staffers were gathered in the bar, watching the proceedings in Washington, D.C. on a large, overhead flat-screen TV.Ariel Gonzalez Lorente admitted he struggles with English, but the Argentinean watched intently as the ever-eloquent Obama prepared to take the oath of office and deliver his speech to a crowd of more than a million people stretched down the National Mall from the U.S. Capitol.I hope a change. No more war, Gonzalez Lorente said.Like many who took time to watch the proceedings, Megan DiSabatino couldnt specifically remember having made a point to watch a presidential inauguration before. Certainly, Tuesdays was the first the Aspen resident has ever recorded at home for later viewing.Its the first one thats ever captivated me, she said, calling up a live video stream of the event on her computer at the Elliott Yeary Gallery. Its just brought enthusiasm and hope to a new generation.A few doors down on the Hyman Avenue Mall, Reed Martin and Zhamilya Shavaeva at Colorado Baggage Co. were watching the inauguration on a computer screen, as well.Russian-born Shavaeva, whos not an American citizen yet, said she nonetheless supports Obama, as do many of her friends in her home country.This is such an important time, and I really believe in him, she said.Hes got very kind eyes, Shavaeva added.I like his ideas, Martin said. I know there are a lot of critics out there, but we all need to give him a chance. Democrat and Republican alike, I think we all need to stand behind him.janet@aspentimes.com


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