We did it! The inauguration was yesterday and it was spectacular! People from all over the world joined hands and hearts for the swearing in of President Barack Hussein Obama. (Just a side note here… Hussein is an Arabic name which is the diminutive of Hassan, meaning "good" or "handsome" or "beautiful" and has nothing to do with Saddam.) I, along with millions of people the world over, watched the festivities with excitement, hope, and a feeling of connectedness to my all fellow human beings.
Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, sent a letter to Obama on his inauguration day. It read as follows:
‘Your election to this high office has inspired people as few other events in recent times have done. Amongst many around the world a sense of hopelessness had set in as so many problems remain unresolved and seemingly incapable of being resolved. You, Mister President, have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make of it a better place.’ These sentiments were echoed all over the world.
Obama is calling for us to come together…to work together…and to be of service to each other. A good many of us are willing to answer that call. Even if it’s just one step or one kindness at a time.
There are those who do not want anything to do with Obama or his message, whether it’s because of personal or political reasons. And that’s fine. Those of us who do answer that call will benefit, if not from the bigger picture (yet), but seeing improvements in our every day lives. It may be just a change of attitude, treating people kinder, or doing whatever we can to help for the greater good of all.
There are also those who are going to complain that they do not want the government in our business. I say that the government IS our business. The government works FOR us…by the people, for the people, of the people. Guess what? We’re the people! We each have to do our part. We not only have to hold our government accountable, but we need to hold ourselves accountable. We are in this together, and we will succeed together. All of us the world over. Yes, we can!
We also need to move forward from the past. This is a whole new day and era. We can honor and learn from our histories and life stories, but we will never move forward if we are clinging to whatever happened up until today. I love the saying, “You can’t move forward if you’re always looking in the rear view mirror.” Our pasts are not our identities, although if we learn the lessons they gave, they can make us a stronger and better people. Are you going to be a victim of your past, or the hero of your future?
Regardless of how you feel about former President Bush, I think it is really important that we just bless him and let him go in peace; not so much for his sake, but for ours. Regardless of what he did or didn't do, or what kind of a President you think he was or wasn't, his Presidency is over...it's in the past. We can learn from what he did or didn't do, but we cannot afford to focus on the negativity. This is not a part of Obama's vision. We cannot continue to look in the rear view mirror. Let us focus on a better tomorrow.
Thank goodness, we’ve overcome so much up to this point. At the moment, I am listening to Louis Armstrong’s beautiful rendition of “We Shall Overcome” and those words apply just as much today than they did when the song was first written many, many years ago.
I will paraphrase some of the verses here: “We shall overcome. We shall overcome, some day. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, We shall overcome, some day. We’ll walk hand in hand, We’ll walk hand in hand some day. Oh, deep in my heart, We shall be free, We shall all be free, some day. We are not afraid, We are not afraid, today. Oh, deep in my heart, We shall overcome, some day. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, We shall overcome, some day.”
That day is here! We are overcoming hatred, bigotry, discrimination, separatism, and are becoming one people regardless of race, color, religion, gender, or walk of life. It’s happening! I believe it! We may still have a lot of work to do, but we're getting there!
The Beatles sang, “Give Peace a Chance.” We can take these words to heart and really work at giving peace a real chance the world over and see a better for future for all.
Many are coming together for the cause. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore produced and filmed a star-studded "Presidential Pledge" video to help encourage community service, and it might give you some ideas on how you can make a difference. I would highly recommend that you check it out at: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=50632298.
As Louis Armstrong sang, “It’s a Wonderful World!” Indeed it is.