Before he has had a chance to sign a single bill or issue any presidential decrees, President-elect Barack Obama has commanded more attention than any other commander in chief in-waiting.
Some of that attention has been negative. But some has been a glimpse of a positive transformation for our children, our country and how we are seen throughout the world.
The negative attention is worrisome.
Excluding the case in Kentucky, which was about as embarrassing it could get, there are at least two other cases in which folks are demanding the judicial system examine the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected one of them, filed by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., who said Obama wasn't a natural-born citizen as the Constitution requires of our presidents. Having an American mother and a Kenyan father gave Obama a dual citizenship, which is against the rules, the case claimed.
Never mind the little law saying anyone born in the United States is a natural-born citizen, and never mind those officials in Hawaii, where Obama was born, who said hogwash to claims he was born anywhere else.
I have never seen anything like it. These people are bound and determined to overturn the wishes of the almost 70 million voters who don't mind having a black president.
Fortunately, there are always positives to counter negatives.
After the Nov. 4 election, the news media received huge dividends. Newspapers experienced a large increase in sales from readers wanting to keep a piece of history.
Anything bearing Obama's name or face sold surprisingly well, and TV shows featuring interviews with Obama attract a larger-than-normal viewership.
Other benefits of an Obama presidency include the action taken in Alabama's Perry County, a small, mostly black rural county of 12,000 people, that voted overwhelmingly for Obama.
Alabama as a whole voted overwhelmingly in favor of Sen. John McCain. Nonetheless, Perry County commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of declaring the second Monday in November "The Barack Obama Day." County offices will be closed for the new annual holiday, and about 40 workers will get a paid day off.
Children have also been inspired by Obama.
The 466 mostly black and Hispanic students at Ludlum Elementary School in Hempstead, N.Y., spearheaded a movement to get the name of their school changed to Barack Obama Elementary School.
It worked. Evidently the one-story brick structure near Hofstra University is the first U.S. school to do that.
But that is just in the United States.
Kenya is looking at opening an "Obama Route," running from Nairobi to the village of Kogelo, Obama's father's birthplace.
In Antigua and Barbuda, an island nation in the Caribbean, Prime Minister W. Baldwin Spencer has continued to fight opposition to his renaming his nation's highest mountain. He wants it called Mount Obama instead of Boggy Peak.
In Lexington and Kentucky, the inspiration I hope Obama brings will be a change in the behavior of our young people. If he can be president, so can an inner-city child or a child from the poorest county in Appalachia. But they have to believe they can.
While probably not as shocking a change in behavior as the kiss exchanged at Sunday's Kennedy Center Honors between President George W. Bush and a longtime critic, singer Barbra Streisand, our children's changed attitudes toward themselves and learning could make test scores soar in this state.
Part of the transformation has started.
For example, Jim Jones, a rapper based in Harlem, has said he will cease using a favorite derogatory term for black people in his lyrics and replace it with "Obama."
He told a reporter, he'd say, "What up, my Obama?" or "Yo, did you see them Obamas last night?"
I am very grateful for that change.
Now, someone needs to do the same for the negative self-image perpetrated on Appalachian students.
If Obama's presidency can help more of our children love learning, Kentucky ought to declare an Obama Day, too.