Ramble On

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Retrospective

In honor of Barack Obama's presidency, today I'm reposting my thoughts from the 2013 Inauguration.  A new president will be installed today.  It's fair to hope that he will rise to the challenge.  It's also reasonable to expect that he is not up to it.

Four More for Forty-Four

Barack Obama’s second inauguration, they say, is one where hope gives way to the practical business of running the country in a time of extreme partisanship.  In my short post today, that will be all I acknowledge of what’s going on in Congress or elsewhere as we debate gun control, the national debt, or immigration.  I’d rather spend some time reflecting on the historic moment as we observe MLK day and see our president rise to the challenge of his second term.

You can click on the link at the end of this post to see a number of posts about the inauguration in 2009, but today, I am going to simply repeat a few of the messages that I had posted there for a retrospective.  Whatever the future holds for the president today, it is good to take a moment to consider the hope of the past – let’s not forget that.  So here we go:

From Mom:
“As a senior citizen,I am once again having hope in our country. This is a great day in American History and I am very glad and proud to be an American today in History.”

From Dad:
“On inauguration day in 2001 and 2005, I was full of fear and worry, because I knew that the USA had made the wrong choice for leadership. Today, I am full of peace and joy because finally we have gotten it right! It is about hope and optimism not about fear and dread. The upcoming changes to our country and even to our way of life will be slow coming, but will be drastic, and will be the foundation of a new and lasting legacy of hope and security for us all.”

From Aunt Rusti:
“It has been a long long march. It was wonderful having Sterling here with me and sharing with him my joy. I remember getting together in a subsidized housing complex in 1955 and meeting Martin Luther King just one of ten or twenty Duke Students; I remember refusing to get married in the First Baptist Church in Greensboro unless Yank and Effie could be seated with my family; I remember hearing noises in the woods behind my house in Durham and peeping through the woods to a field with a huge cross burning and men in robes (1961); My list is long. But these just help to let you know how deeply thrilled I am that he proved himself to me and to others, we elected him, and we must work for and with him for changes.”

From Greg, my former roommate in Berlin:
James Joyce wrote a brilliant line in "Ulysses," “history is a nightmare from which i am trying to awaken." …time to wake up.

From Yiming, another USAF friend:
"As far as the inauguration goes, I have great hope for the coming years and am extremely impressed with the transition so far. I am mindful that 48 million Americans do not support what he stands for, though I'm sure he will win some of them over. “

And from my friend Janice, who posted after attending the Inauguration in person:
"All I can say is...Wow. Today was truly a once in a lifetime experience. There is no way to describe what this day meant to me personally as a young African-American woman and an American citizen. I'm so taken by what this man has created…A movement of hope and change, and a renewed faith for everyone. His sincerity and warm demeanor is contagious and it was evident in the crowd today. The idea that was so stunning, so phenomenal, so breath taking that all I could all say was ‘Wow.’ ”

I’ll close with my own words from that day four years ago – a sentiment I feel even now. 

We heard the call to action this week, the call to service. Each of us has to make a contribution in the days ahead. What is the best way to have an impact? What is the best way to make that contribution?

One thing is for certain, this is a journey with many steps. The most important one is this first one, the one we take today, when President Obama is inaugurated.

(The poster pictured is Shepard Fairey's great work, which became the iconic image of the first Obama campaign).

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