Wednesday, January 21

"Hope' and "Change' don't even begin to describe it

There's hope tingling in the air - it is almost tangible! Today is the day that Barack Obama officially becomes the 44th President of the United States and I am so glad that we are here to experience it.Americans are so good at spectacle and celebration and tugging the heartstrings. The hairs on my arms stood up this morning when the morning television replayed parts of Obama's victory speech, and they haven't calmed down since! It's like an American version of a coronation, and he will basically be a king, for the next four years at least. It seems appropriate that yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr Day, and a perfect lead up to today's events.

As usual NPR have excellent coverage of the event. The library at work is opening all its multimedia rooms so that we can all watch the coverage today (heading over there in a second) which is fabulous.

Here's the quote from the victory speech that makes me tingle-
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

And I'll leave you with the prayer from the Right Reverend Gene Robinson that kicked off the event (but I won't go into the political mess and PR frack ups as to when and where this appeared - it is powerful enough to stand regardless)
O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect andwarm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.



Bee said...

Here here! What an amazing day...

Adrienne said...

We watched bits and pieces - live on telly this morning. It's a wonderful time you two have chosen to be in the United States of America.

I had felt that the aftermath of the American Century was going to be the demise of American the Great. She had turned into something un-admirable, something hypocritical and afraid. Change has come and it's about time.

Big A said...

I guess it would be quite a while since an in-coming president has had such a wave of support, not only inside the country, but from all round the world.

He'll need our prayers.

Mothersupex said...

An amazing moment in history and so very emotional. I have been glued to the screen and now Dad is watching. Lets hope and pray that many changes will come out of this, that there is unity and forgiveness, which will lead to peace and harmony among ALL, not just America. We follow America so hopefully much can be learnt from this great man.

God bless him, his family and ancestors, because this did not just happen over night.

Mothersupex said...

I forgot to say, sorry, that I thought this was a lovely posting you did. Very proud of my girl, your emotions from the heart, faith and love of humanity.

Well done.

Much love, Mum x

Dumblond said...

You know that you are a part of something big when little kids are foregoing their morning cartoons to watch the Inauguration.
Yup, my kids.
It feels good to be an American again. Maybe this time, we got it right.

Jac said...

It's a lot of pressure to put on one guy, and he really will need our prayers, but I think what he's trying to get across, and what is slowly filtering in, that that change isn't something that we sit around and wait for someone else to instigate. Change is something we all have to actively participate in.

The speech was pretty incredible coming from *any* politician, let alone a US president. I'll try to post a clip soon for anyone who missed it.