Jan 20th, 2009, a day in which something very profound has changed; a day when the unthinkable happened. Americans, and the world for that matter, watched in fascination as an extraordinary historical moment unfolded when Barack Hussein Obama claimed his place as America’s first African-American president.
Much has been made of Obama’s personal background but still the symbolism cannot be overstated of a once slave-owning nation electing a black man to the nation’s highest office. His very presence on the stage was the embodiment of change and hope. With Obama’s inauguration, the political landscape has undeniably shifted and the world is watching. As I read somewhere, “We see one another and the world sees America with new eyes as a result.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
Many discussions have been had about Obama’s inaugural speech. Personally, I thought it was intelligent and sophisticated. And yes, maybe there were no standout one-liners that will resound for generations to come and maybe it wasn’t as striking as his address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, however, that was the beauty of his speech. It isn’t a time for electrification. It’s time for business, and a more quiet inspiration, and I think he accomplished just that. It gave deference to the moment, acknowledged the difficulties ahead, but inspired the heck out of me. His speech – wide ranging and rousing – captured the primary challenge facing America at this time: To reconnect with itself and the world. Obama seeks to beat back decline and fulfill the promise of America.
In the face of much uncertainty and troubling times, Americans have opted for change. I realize Obama cannot fulfill all that is promised and disappointment is inevitable, after all, Obama is only human. He might not always do right, but I believe he will at least try with all his might. That is the faith I have in our president and in our country.
What is evident is that positive change, as opposed to the change that is just a drift to disaster, will only happen when people who love freedom demand it, work for it, and sacrifice for it. With this inauguration, America has reclaimed itself.
Photo: AP/Ron Edmonds