Of Possibilities and Responsibilities

Like many of you, I spent a large part of my day yesterday glued to the television watching the inauguration.  As I looked over the sea of humanity spread out over the National Mall and as I observed the different groups of V.I.P.s taking their places on the stage, I was struck by a real sense of the history and continuity of our country’s political process.  The onlookers in their down parkas and colorful knitted caps could just as easily have been men in stovepipe hats and women in crinoline skirts wrapped up in buffalo robes sitting in horse-drawn carriages out on the mall, waiting for the next president to be sworn in.

presidential-sealI didn’t vote for President Obama but I will support him because he is my president.  He has earned the office through the will of the people of our country.  It is as it should be.  I’m so proud that we, as a people, have been able to look beyond the color of a person’s skin, and see their heart, their worth, and their potential.  It gives me hope that the words “all men are created equal” will no longer be an echo of a wish but a statement of a fact. 

I rejoice that our 44th President has enabled ALL Americans to realize that they CAN achieve great things.  And I pray that the days of people mistreating people based on the color of their skin or their religion or their country of origin are over.  However, I’m a realist.  Change doesn’t happen overnight.  Just in my family, we have three generations represented and I’m sure that many of you have at least four generations represented.  My mother is 95.  Think of the changes she has seen in her lifetime.  There was total segregation when she was growing up.  I’m almost 60.  The marches in Selma were happening when I was a teen.  Since the 60’s, segregation has ended and we have an African-American president.  I was blessed to have parents that taught me that all people were God’s people, regardless of their skin color, and they should be loved and respected as such but I daresay that many in my generation had parents who still clung to the old bigotries.  My children’s generation has grown up in a totally integrated environment.  They are equally comfortable with people from many different ethnic backgrounds.   Change is coming but we must model it.  We must BE the change.

Lincoln's Inauguration Bible

Lincoln's Inauguration Bible

So we are starting this new term of office with a president that has the capacity to inspire us all.  He has filled so many of us with hope.  I was glad to hear him also point out in his inaugural address that the change we want and hope for will require work on our part.  These are dangerous times for our country.  We can not have a “baby bird” mentality.  Noone, whether you are a top executive or are homeless, should be sitting around with your mouth open, arms flapping, making lots of noise, and waiting for “Big Government Mama Bird” to swoop down and stuff your craw full of food, benefits, money, etc.   Benjamin Franklin once said, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”   We MUST be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to keep our country solvent while still obeying God’s directive to care for those less fortunate.  But those less fortunate can still be given the dignity of working for an honest living, whether it is through rebuilding bridges, the rail system, tutoring, using their skills to help others, or in many other ways. 

So today, I look forward to the Obama presidency.  I also honor our former President Bush.  I think he was an honorable man who sincerely believed he was doing the best he could for our country.  Whether or not his actions were right, who can say?  Perhaps future looks back at his presidency will be kinder.  That is not what matters right now.  Right now what matters is what are WE going to do to make our country and this world a better place?

  • Kristine Martin

    Thanks Dee for your words. You are so remarkable. What you said are things that are in my heart also. Kris

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