America, give yourself a big hug. You helped make history and now you get to watch it unfold. The Moment has arrived — or it will Tuesday at high noon Washington, D.C., time. That moment, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.
A moment made possible by the better angels of our nature.
We hope to see the age of optimism. An era of confidence. A time of intellect. A president who, when he speaks, has the nation’s ear — not just his cronies who make decisions without a silly little thing like justice standing in their way.
We hope for the best from a great orator who has an affinity for Lincoln, the vim and vigor of JFK, and the celebrity of Reagan.
Because of the economic crisis that’s too close for comfort when it comes to the Great Depression, comparisons have been made between what FDR came into office facing and to what Obama will undertake. FDR had The New Deal. We’re holding out hope that we can call Obama’s time in office The Real Deal.
Change is here, people, and, well, we’re going to find out soon enough what change can bring.
Obama has a lot on the proverbial plate — but for now, lets take in the feast. History served up at high noon. Dig in.
Think of it — a white woman from the Plains of Kansas meets and marries a black man from Kenya and they produce the 44th president of the United States. Doesn’t get much better than that. It’s the new face of America — and it’s smiling. And right now we can’t help but smile too.
Our founding fathers are given credit for having vision when it comes to the rule of law. They were wise enough to know that church and state must be separate. But would they marvel at the sight of The Moment? Some of them owned slaves. Obama himself joked during the campaign that he didn’t look like any of those other guys who have been president. Ya, he has bigger ears than most.
In my lifetime I have witnessed a lot of history — most of it not good: the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. The Vietnam War dividing the nation. Those gawd-awful 1960s. Maybe we’ve finally learned from our misfortune.
But I’ve also seen strength and courage in everyday people throught my life who had to fight for what was their God-given rights to begin with. We’ve come a long way, but not far enough, yet. Barack Obama is a start. America’s redemption begins soon after The Moment passes.
I went to segregated schools, I served in the military with people of all races and religion. I’ve worked side by side with them. I argued and joked with them. I palled around with them. I can only imagine how proud they must all feel. Like my parents did when the first Roman Catholic was elected to the presidency. But with more passion and pride, I would suspect.
As they shed tears of joy at The Moment, I’ll feel their emotion, even though I can never truly feel what is in their hearts as many times as I can try and understand. I’ve never had the privilege.
Like Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mockingbird” telling daughter Scout about never knowing what someone is like until you walk around in their shoes.That of course was author Harper Lee’s poetic way of saying try putting yourself in someone else’s place, even for a minute. At high noon on Tuesday, I’ll try.
I want to be part of The Moment. But The Moment is theirs most of all.