I took the day off and spent it at my father-in-law’s house, watching all the excitement in Washington D.C.
I was still thinking about how emotional I felt watching Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the drive over the bridge. My wife hadn’t been there when King’s speech aired, so I pulled it up (iPhone is amazing) and read it to her as she was driving. Reading the text aloud, once more underlined for me the power of the words. There were times that I had to pause in order to get the words out because I was so choked up.
I was once again taken by the fact that Dr. King could be so optimistic with all the rage and oppression surrounding him. Listening to our new President speak, I could clearly hear the determined optimism in his voice and words. I was swept up by the historic moment, and excited about the turning away from the culture of fear toward one of hope.
It is far too easy to look at all of the problems of the world, listen to the news, and give in to the fear of all things that could happen. Terrorists around every corner, economy collapsing, no work anywhere, global warming, and the USA on the verge of collapse. But for me, every problem appears more as something to be solved, every challenge is an opportunity for growth that can be solved by working together.
The words of Barack Hussein Obama II in his inaguaral address are filled with that, and I’m excited by the way he is using the bully pulpit already to rally us to service. This is a seminal event: the promise made to every small child, that they can work hard and grow to become President of the United States has moved closer to reality. Martin Luther King’s dream of a nation where children will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, is just a little more real.
I was moved in many places by Barack’s speech. Calling us back to the traditions of our founding fathers in continuing the great social experiment that is the United States. When he said that America was ready to lead, I just wanted to hear him say “follow me”.
When he spoke to the troubled nations of the world, challenging the despots, offering “that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”, I was again deeply moved. By speaking to our part in the world, that we could not be apart from it, he seemed to me to be reminding us that service goes beyond our nation. We can’t retreat inside our borders, nor follow some crusade to get every nation to be like ours.
At the end of the day, Barack and Michelle Obama crossed the threshold of the White House, across steps that were built by slaves, to lead our country in it’s ever progressing quest toward protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.