Whether you voted for him or not, President Barack Obama is must-see TV.
There were many prime-time personalities at the presidential inauguration Tuesday -- five former U.S. presidents, Yo-Yo Ma, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts and Aretha Franklin, to name a few -- but the hundreds of millions of people watching around the world only wanted to see one person: President Obama.
He didn't disappoint.
One day after a holiday celebrating the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., Obama delivered a King-esque speech which alluded to everything from the Bible to Abraham Lincoln to King's "I Have a Dream" speech. He even echoed some of President George W. Bush's second inaugural address.
He said Americans face unprecedented obstacles, but offered the unwavering hope that was the pillar of his campaign.
"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America -- they will be met."
He also outlined a tough foreign policy, calling out Al-Qaeda's "far-reaching network of violence and hatred."
"You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you," he said.
Mostly, however, he signaled America's best days were still ahead, that we will once again be that beacon of hope, that shining light upon a hill which will guide the rest of the world.
But to achieve that, Americans must put aside their differences, he said. He asked all Americans to sacrifice -- by making political compromises, lifestyle changes and giving service to their country.
"As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages."
"We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all."
As of last week, even the majority of people who didn't vote for Obama believed in the president.
According to a recent CBS poll, four out of five Americans were optimistic about an Obama presidency.
Respondents said they were patient -- they know it will take several years to turn around the economy and America's other mounting problems.
Can President Obama fulfill his promises of a better economy, better health care, better education and restoring America's moral standing around the world?
Only time will tell.
But the turnout today at The National Mall, the hundreds of millions of viewers, the CBS poll and hundreds of other polls like it show that the world is watching and will continue to watch.
Obama is must-see TV, and today was just the first episode of what will be a long-running series, full of ups and downs.
We all have a stake in this.
Republicans, Democrats, blacks, whites, Hispanics, Christians, Muslims, Jews and non-believers all want jobs, health care, education and a better country for our children and our children's children.
Today we all should put aside our differences and focus on those common goals.
Let's all hope this show has a happy ending.