20 January 2009

making history today

today was it, the big day we've all been waiting for, the day where the guy that says, "america is a place where all things are possible" was sworn in as president. he summed up america's greatness in one little statement, "why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath".

anyone who reads my blog knows what this past year has been for me, knows how much shame i felt when labeling myself american, as i sat idly by and watched my leaders trample the constitution in the name of security, hand over uncontested contracts in iraq and afghanistan to their rich buddies, and allowed our economy to flush itself down the toilet by trusting in the greediest of "experts", along many other shameful acts.

but today, i walked 50 blocks in the haze of an icy chill. i stood in the midst of 1.4 million agents of change, unable to feel my feet, and stretching my neck for a glimpse of our new president. i stood crying on the national mall, as my new leader, equal parts somber and hopeful, reminded all of us why it is that this country is so great, why it is that america has been able to grow, prosper, and survive in spite of its many challenges and adversities, and why we will prevail. it's because we are americans. we are strong, we are diverse, and we hold dear the greatest ideals of freedom, democracy, and the pursuit of happinesss.

he reminded us that we will defeat those who seek to harm us, but we will first reach out to all the world to help spread the notion of peace, freedom and prosperity for all. that we can only achieve world peace by living up to and practicing the freedom we preach. we can no longer ignore the laws we seek to spread to the rest of the world just because we think we're so virtuous, we don't even need to practice what we preach. we must lead by example, we must be as virtuous as we claim to be, and we must recognize that america can only be the greatest nation on earth when we recognize that we are no better than anyone else.

and he reminded us that it's only by working together, accepting personal and national responsiblity, that we can and will overcome the great challenges we face today, tomorrow, and in the coming years and months.

in his own words,

"We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking america..."

and i echo the words obama spoke in the moments following his loss in the new hampshire primary as a reminder to all of us that, in america, anything is possible:

"In the unlikely story that is America, there is nothing false about hope.

For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we've been told we're not ready or that we shouldn't try or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.

It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can.

...there is something happening in America, that we are not as divided as our politics suggest, that we are one people, we are one nation. And, together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story, with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea: Yes, we can."

and yes, america, we can. if we stand together, work together, and commit ourselves to a better future for ourselves, our neighbors, and our country, YES WE CAN!

all of this being said, i don't know that yes i can get off my exhausted, aching ass, and head over to the youth ball (yeah, i am in possession of the hottest tickets in town) to continue the great celebration. but for me, it was about today. i was there, in the shadow of the capital, soaking up the energy, the cold, and the message of the greatness of america. i was there, and i believe in the deepest depths of my hopeful soul that america will prevail because americans are who we are...