Paradoxically, in this time of almost crushing concern over the state of our nation, the inauguration of a new President ushers in, at least briefly, a period of palpable hope.
Hope for a better economy, for demonstrable progress in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, and for improvements in everything from climate change to education to Social Security to health care. Indeed, optimism abounds even as things seem to be falling down all around us. It's the American way.
But those aren't the only things we have to feel hopeful about. Or, for that matter, to worry about.