Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What else to say?



(Thanks, Pam)

UPDATE: This has indeed really happened. We really are at a moment that transcends politics or even, really, who hold what position of power--or what color his skin is. Even "historic" feels like a diminishing:

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate. Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true.
This really is an instance when the words of our ideals as a nation are made manifest. Obama's not the Messiah, no; really, what Obama's won is the right to try--we know nothing beyond that. But if those ideals have any actual meaning, if we're not just saying that we're all equal because that's the thing we Americans are supposed to say, it's difficult to avoid borrowing scriptural-sounding language. Not because of who he is, but because of who we say we are.

ONE LAST THING: A reprise of something I posted back in October, Joe Henry's beautifully-poignant and yet -affirming "Our Song." Listen to this again, keeping in mind what we saw today. "If it's His Will, the worst might still/Make me a better man."

3 comments:

Pam said...

My pleasure.

Enjoy the day!

Russell Arben Fox said...

Beautiful sentiments, John, and very nicely put. I had a great day at Friends, watching the festivities in the company of about 70 other students and faculty; hope you had a similarly happy day.

John B. said...

Russell, thanks for the kind words. I actually had a quiet day at home--I don't have classes on Tuesdays this semester--and so today was introspection-filled. Not bad--and I could get misty-eyed without feeling self-conscious.