Obama and Sully: A New Age of American Competence?

It's been a dark eight years, and I'm ready for some hope. Today, Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger and Barack Obama are the delivery men.

Perhaps the beleaguering bludgeon of the Bush administration's incompetence, secrecy, and downright mean-spiritedness have compelled me to read sentimental meaning into coincidences, but this week truly feels like a refreshing turn of the page. The anticipation of Tuesday's presidential inauguration is intoxicating. The eyes of the world are turning to us, with eager ears for Barack's speech and awaiting eyes for Michelle's gown. George W. Bush and his milieu are limping into the background. A promise of a steady, present hand at the wheel hovers over us.

And then the dramatic, successful rescue of flight 1549 happened. Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, in a moment of desperation and emergency, landed his plane as gently as possible in the Hudson River and led his passengers to safety. Rescue crews, departing from Manhattan's ferry terminal, seamlessly conducted their work with grace under pressure. There were no bungles or cover-ups -- just a job genuinely done right.

I hope that we are entering a new age of American competence -- one in which our everyday citizens and our troops receive the fair-minded governance and thoughtful leadership that we need. The atmosphere this week encourages me.

Dan Brown is the author of The Great Expectations School.