Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hope for a new era

AP Photo by Susan Walsh

I've found it hard to sum up all that has transpired in the last few days. I'm still trying to get a grasp on the enormity of the event that happened yesterday, January 20, 2009. At noon, Barack Obama took the oath of office, becoming the first African-American President of the United States. What an awe inspiring moment.

It's hard to think how far our country has come in my lifetime. On the day I was born, the Civil Rights movement hadn't even begun. Segregation was a reality. When I entered elementary school, the Voting Rights Act had just been passed. When I began high school, the first black family moved into our little suburb, shaking things up! My eyes were really opened when I went to graduate school at the University of Michigan - always a center of diversity and tolerance. It was a life changing two years in many, many ways. When I moved to the Scenic City in the early 80s, it was a city that was still recovering from generations of oppression. I still remember doing a book display my first year to commemorate Black History Month in February. One of the African-American students brought his parents to see it - it was the first time our school had recognized the occasion.

And now, we have a government that is beginning to reflect the real America. The Obama family - now the First Family - is itself a microcosm of America. President Obama (wow, it gives me such joy to type that!) had an African father and a white mother; he has a half-sister who is Indonesian and American, married to a Chinese Canadian. Michelle is the descendant of slaves, and has a cousin who is a rabbi. And they all seem to get along fine. Hopefully, America can follow their model.

We look to this intelligent man to lead us through the grim realities of a slowing economy. We look to him to inspire us to change. We look to him to help us discover our potential both as a nation and as individuals. We look to him to keep our nation safe. It's a big job - but I have faith that this slim man from Illinois is the one to do it. Just as another slim man from Illinois led our nation through another dark time in our history.

God Bless the United States indeed - and God bless our new President Obama.

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Blogger Ted D said...

Beth, well said. It really was an amazing day to just sit back and watch it all take place.

7:55 PM  

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