Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Day Dawns

As I write on this glorious, sunny day, I'm watching the Inaugural ceremonies. I've been watching since earlier this morning, and as the day unfolds, I find myself feeling a stronger sense of national pride than I've felt in years. It's not that I ever did not want to be an American; no mere mortal could ever wield that magnitude of power over me. But in recent years, I've come to feel misrepresented as an individual American on virtually every front. Respect for the presidential office aside, Bush simply was never my president.

Today I feel hope--unlimited, bottomless surges of hope. The idea of hope is a welcome one regardless of circumstances. But the climate of our nation has been one of fear, frustration, disappointment, anger, and dissent for so long that hope had become little more than a four-letter word. It was distant, unattainable, fading into the horizon.

Many things about today contribute to my feeling of hope: the fact that the man who now leads us is young and vital, a loving father and husband who seems in touch with the reality most of us accept as our own; that this one man had the courage to step up and speak out at a time when our nation most needed a clear, intelligent voice; that he sacrificed his private life for a cause much bigger--and more difficult--than any one person's endeavors. I think Barack Obama chose to seek the presidency not because he could, but because he felt he should.

But more than this, I am hopeful because we as a nation banded together and said Enough. We've had enough. And we did what we had to do to bring about the change necessary to right ourselves.

I believe most hatred and ugliness is born of fear, and the fear stems from ignorance. Racism has long divided our country, and to an extent, perhaps, it always will. But for this one brief moment, we robbed racism of its power and banished it. We chose hope and a belief in the power of the people over hatred and fear. We made an active decision to break through a long-standing paradigm of limitation based on tradition and an unwillingness to take a chance.

There is but a one-letter difference between "chance" and "change," and I think one relies on the other for existence. I truly believe we have the leader we need to guide us out of the mire we find ourselves trudging through. He is no savior, not a messiah. He is probably scared to death and will undoubtedly make mistakes. But my gut tells me his mistakes will have come from an attempt to do the right thing for the most people, to make the best of difficult choices and decisions. I see an integrity in this man I never was able to detect in his predecessor.

I will forever be proud to be able to tell my children that I helped bring Barack Obama to the White House. When he stumbles and falls--as we know he will--the fallout will be tempered by the spirit which permeates this day. We will remember the elation, the sheer relief, the unabashed triumph. We will remember why we put him in office.

This day belongs to us all, regardless of creed, political party, race, or any other factor that leads to division. Today is our day.

Today is a good day. And for me, it's doubly wonderful; my baby--the last of the tribe--turns 8 today. One look into Bella's dear face and I am reminded of the goodness and delight this life has to offer.

Life is good.

1 comment:

Mary A. Shafer said...

Right on, sistah! I savored it myself as I walked through airports full of people watching the ceremonies, then again when I got home to watch them myself. A day that won't soon be forgotten. I hope we all remember what a huge task our new prez has in front of him, and how much we owe him already for just being willing to step up to face it.