Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration of Hope

Johannah and I are in DC for the inaugural celebrations, and what a celebration it is. I am usually averse to crowds, but had a really wonderful time at the concert at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday. The spirit of the crowd was so infectious, the performances heart-felt and superb. Every time the camera panned to Obama (visible on huge video screens placed strategically around the reflecting pool) the crowd went nuts. Despite the cold it was heart-warming and uplifting. This morning we picked up a copy of the Washington Post with it's full color front page photo of the crowd along the reflecting pool back towards the Washington Monument. We drew an arrow to a spot somewhere on the far side and near the back end of the reflecting pool and wrote in our names. At lunch today with my 91-year old father, we presented him with the paper telling him we had made it onto the front page of the Post (along with 400,000+ other people.) Everywhere around this city people are smiling and greeting each other as friends. Obama paraphernalia is omnipresent, from hats and t-shirts to lapel buttons. Issues of race seem to have evaporated, not only on the street where a spirit of brotherly love seems to have taken firm hold, but--as the paper reports--even in the high end social circles which were once the bastion of wealthy whites.

We all are holding such high hopes and expectations for Obama: to fix our economy, get us out of Iraq, reenergize a spirit of service, and rebuild our reputation in the eyes of the world. I expect that he will play a huge role on the world stage, bringing leaders of nations together to seek solutions that are equitable, generous, and long-lasting. It is my personal hope that he will convene some sort of global summit to examine shared human values. For by focusing on values as the touch stone for policies and relationships he might be able to move people with otherwise immutable and opposing positions and help them find common ground for the common good. I really liked the comments of Bishop Gene Robinson (the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire) who gave the opening invocation at the concert yesterday. I cannot remember the exact words, but he spoke about the need to think not only about what was best for America, but what was best for all people and all nations. This is the kind of expansive vision we need to lead the new global society, for the impacts of our activities must be regarded through the lens of survival--not just the survival of nations and institutions, but of the human race. I have hope for this kind of leadership from our new President, and I am ecstatically happy to be here in DC to be a part of our new, historic journey.


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