I was glad to be home today to watch President Barack Obama’s second inauguration into office.
The pomp and ceremony, the presence of past presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, the sharp outfits–though my sister-in-law mentioned she missed Aretha’s hat–the strength and grace radiating from our President’s being, filled me with pride, filled me with hope for our country, but more importantly for all of us as human beings. An excerpt from President Obama’s speech shows the latter:
“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well…Our journey is not complete until we can find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.”
I was also touched by Myrlie Evers William’s invocation. Her deep, passionate voice called for us to work together. I was moved by the singing of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, and of course, Beyonce. The poem by Richard Blanco, One Today, a majestic universal journey in words of our connectedness to one another, still resides inside of me.
I am not a political person, and so what I held onto today was not the talk of energy, climate change or the economy, although, of course, those are all important issues. What made me proud, what gave me hope for humanity, was our President’s words about social justice and true equality for all of us–women, men, children, immigrants, gay, straight, old and young. This was the first time a President mentioned gay equality in an inauguration speech. The President did also speak, I think more so than in his past, of diversity and equal opportunity for all, and the need for all of us to work collectively to achieve this. His urging to have us look beyond our own individual, rigid beliefs, to help one another, to all of us help move ourselves as human beings and as a nation forward in a positive way was inspirational. That notion and the action to live those words for the next four years and beyond, is something we can all strive to do.
I know I can be accused of being a Pollyanna, but I’d rather believe we can do this than not. Four more years.