Are We There Yet?
When the day finally came for Barack Obama to become our 44th President, it unfolded with a lot of positive energy I hadn't foreseen. I knew I'd be happy, but the incredible outpouring of emotion and joy that enveloped every available square inch of Washington D. C. just floored me. I was out of town this last weekend, and missed the big Sunday musical celebration, but eventually watched it online. It's odd that with just a simple exorcism via the ballot, the mood of the country could change so dramatically. The symbolism of the performances on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was striking. Video clips of Marian Anderson, Martin Luther King, and JFK were counterpoints to young and old musical artists singing classics. I was particularly moved to see the old Sam Cooke song, A Change is Gonna Come. It was great to see U2 do Pride (In the Name of Love), which was originally dedicated to MLK, done in front of the huge seated statue of Abraham Lincoln.
Obama's acceptance speech was not the second coming of the Gettysburg Address, nor was it meant to be. It was a direct communiqué to all of us that the day had come, and that the change we'd all been waiting for was going to happen through our own hands, and that the government would not be a thing of alienation, but an extension of the will and needs of the people. While his first words were gracious ones, directed at ex-president Bush (jeez, it feels good to say 'ex-president Bush!') but soon heard in no uncertain terms that there was a new sheriff in town, and America would no longer be operating under the same old patterns of politics and power.
Before today, I'd heard some snickering remarks about the phrase "Be the change," but today, that seems real to me, and what it's all about, and also how it must be the way things will work.