I am cautiously hopeful and optimistic about the Obama administration. It is a relief to have a thoughtful, curious, intelligent, well-spoken person at the head of the nation. And, like many, I am amazed that a country with our history of racism, has elected an African American president. That, alone, gives me considerable hope. From what I’ve been reading online, many people now have the sense that the government might again be relevant to their lives.  Eight years ago some people liked to talk about how George W. Bush was “the kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with.” I never saw it myself — the man has always struck me as a self-involved, spiteful, spoiled adolescent. Obama and his family, on the other hand, strike me as the sort of people I’d like to have in my neighborhood — ordinary folk with admirable character. And, today at least, the country has the feel of a neighborhood.