As I sit at my laptop listening to the roar of the inaguaration crowd on the radio, I am struck by the two million people that have descended on Washington DC today for the celebration and life changing event that is happening right at this moment.
Our new President Obama is signing his name to his official executive orders, with his left hand, and I listen tearfully as the crowd goes wild. It is somewhat overwhelming. Never in my lifetime has our country experienced this kind of hope.
I was seven years old when Kennedy was shot. I remember that moment – being in my living room, lying on my belly on the floor in my footie pajamas, and crying, gathered with my mother and my three year old baby brother around the black and white tv image of the car going by the grassy knoll.
I will remember this moment in its entirety as well. Crying, but not in grief. Crying in relief….the letting go of years of tension and fear that I didnt even know I carried. Relief that all the values I have been taught since I was seven years old about the opportunities in this country are actually real.
Growing up with a single mother I relate to Obama. I understand what he struggled against to be successful in his life. And yet he fought against so much more. Not only the prejudice against growing up in what was then “a broken home” but also the battle against racism. Hopelessness is now hope. Hatred can now be put aside for something greater. Something better.
But, like all new relationships, I know this honeymoon phase will come to an end. I know our love and hope and excitement will wane. I know that after this time of celebration we will at some point experience our first real dissapointment and in will walk the hard reality of where we have brought ourselves. The truth that what we face in our country has to do with how we handle conflict at home, in ourselves and in our own relationships. And only until we learn to resolve them will we be able to resolve the larger issues in America, and in the world.
Lets enjoy this. Lets love the ideals that Obama’s election represents. Lets find the joy and the relief that this new administration promises. And then lets be realistic. Lets work on ourselves, and without the excuse of a system or a country or a culture that has let us down or repressed us or kept us from being all that we could be, lets work on ourselves. And lets begin at home. Begin with our most personal and private love relationships.
Lets change the world, one relationship at a time.
Congratulations, America. Today we celebrate a marriage of hope and perseverance. When the honeymoon is over, lets all get to work on the hard stuff.
Loving each other.