Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural Post

I walked in the streets in DC again this weekend. I’ve done that many times before, but for the first time I walked in them to celebrate for something rather than agitate against something. I spoke with several others in the streets or on the Metro who were sharing the same realization. It’s an interesting sensation, and one I’d like to have again someday.
The whole family went down yesterday to join the millions in the throng for President Obama’s (that was fun to write; I think I’ll do it again: President Obama’s) inauguration. We couldn’t see much, but we could certainly feel the excitement and joy as we celebrated the peaceful transfer of power that marks a great democracy moving more fully into its promise of “all people.”
Oddly enough, I got interviewed again. I’m not sure why this happens, but I’ve been a “person-on-the-street” interview at least four times in D.C. with media outlets ranging from al Jazeera (I kid you not) to the CBS Evening News. Yesterday it was Ebony.
The reporter asked us what the inauguration meant to us and how it made us feel. My nine-year-old daughter, remembering afternoons spent walking the canvas routes with me, said, “excited and proud that I helped to get the first African-American president elected.”
Never having learned the actor’s adage to avoid dogs and children because they will upstage you every time, I dived in, too.
President Obama’s inauguration prompted me to think back to my Southern childhood. I was born in Alabama in 1959, and probably had my diapers changed in Whites Only restrooms – certainly not change you can believe in!
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it does bend toward justice. It has been bent dramatically, by the faithful work of thousands of committed hands, in my lifetime.
The journey toward a more perfect union is endless, but we have travelled – marched, walked, freedom rode – a great distance, and yesterday was a time to celebrate not only the election of a leader with phenomenal gifts and potential, but also that national journey.
Nothing else could explain why 2 million people would brave the cold, the wind, and the inconvenience of being on the Mall. I still don’t know exactly what the president said because the words echoing off the Washington Monument were often muddled and sometimes drowned out by the flags whipping in the wind. But there is no place in the world that I would rather have been.


Anonymous said...

hey--I almost called you yesterday so you could give my students a "man on the street" report of what they were watching on the big screen of the interactive white board. . .but I don't know how to put my phone on speaker phone, and I figured you wouldn't be able to hear me anyway. Me and the kindergartners all stood up when Obama was sworn in. We were all excited. What a great day.

Anonymous said...

oh, that was me, yo sistah (don't know why that doesn't appear in the previous comment, cause I typed it

Christian Wright said...

I don't think the call would have come through. There were so many cell phones on the Mall that the circuits were overloaded. We tried to make several calls out but could never make connection. Ah, well, tell the kids it was amazing to be there, but that you saw a whole lot more on TV than we did on the ground. The picture I posted was the clearest view we had! Straight up.

Anonymous said...

What a disappoinment!

When I saw that you had written an Inaugural Post, I really expected to see a post about all the fear that those who went to the Mall on Inauguration Day were commanded and encouraged to live under. All those security checkpoints!! All those police! All those silly things that are merely an attempt to instill fear in the people.

And the cost! Did I miss something in your post, or did you really not comment on all the money that was spent on the Inauguration (including security) and on the Inaugural Balls. I must have missed your concern for how that money could have been used, instead, to clothe hungry people or feed hungry people, or provide medicine to sick children. Over $100 million -- a record amount!! -- spent to celebrate. What would Jesus say?

Where do you suppose Jesus would have spent Inauguration Day? Celebrating? Or ministering to the poor and needy? Do you suppose He might have been doing something that day that would actually have helped the hungry or the sick or the naked? I don't recall any Gospel stories about Jesus celebrating political change in Rome or Jerusalem, but I do remember Him spending His time feeding and healing.

There's no place you would have rather been on Inauguration Day than on the Mall? With all the sick, hungry, and poor people, I can think of lots of other places I would have been on Inauguration Day.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm ... I seem to remember Jesus celebrating a wedding - and making sure that they didn't run out of wine.
Perhaps we should remember the words of The Preacher in Ecclesiastes: For everything there is a season. For many of us, Tuesday was "a time to dance".

Hey! We were there, right in front of the Washington Monument. Funny, we didn't see you.

Your Clerk