Like most everyone in our country today, I watched Barack Hussein Obama give his Inauguration Speech, the crowd a wonderfully compelling mixture of different race and economic status and every possible difference we use to keep ourselves apart from one another. There were a million people huddled together in the cold to watch our 44th President take office. While I was not there physically, I sat here at my computer and cried as he made his speech, feeling part of something far, far greater than myself. I helped make this happen; I helped in some small way to get this man where he is today, and that is a huge feeling of accomplishment. We should all feel proud, on so many different levels.
I don't pretend to be any kind of a political expert, nor do I pretend to have all of the answers. While I hate to say that this election was all about race, I can't deny my own shame when President Obama talked about how less than 60 years ago his father could not be seated in a restaurant. I was not there, but perhaps my relatives were, fighting a war against race that I simply cannot even begin to understand. So to say that race has not been a factor would be to turn a blind eye to how far we as a nation have come, and I don't want to do that, either. The odds were stacked against Obama from Day One, because of his race, his name, his relative obscurity, and yet there he was today in front of our nation, accepting it's highest office. What an amazing blessing to be part of this, to be part of the beginning of something so huge. Regardless of political party affiliations, this is a moment in time where we should all simply stop and revel in how great a nation we truly are.
Obama's call to service touched me deeply, and I will tell you this: I will be one of those who work until my hands are raw in support of this man. I will strive harder to better teach my children about service-not service to the government, or even this man in particular, but service to fellow Americans. To their neighbors, to their friends. I will set a better example of what it means to be part of the human race, not just in our country but in every country in this world. I will soften my heart toward others, I will be more generous and understanding, yet underneath I will keep handy this steel cord that has kept me going for so long; I have needed it in the past, and God help me, I will need it again. We will all need it in the days to come, of that I am sure, and what I will do instead of using it to keep my own spine straight and my eyes looking ahead, but I will temper it until it is fluid enough to be spread amongst my friends, my fellow Americans.
We live in such a blessed world, and I for one am going to work harder than ever before to stop forgetting that. I am going to make an attempt every day to foster this feeling of unity, even if the best I can do at some point in time is smile at a stranger. I am going to stop selling myself short, because in doing so I sell you short, too. We are all part of this, whether we want to be or not, and I would ask you to simply look in your hearts and give this man a chance. If you can't do that, give me a chance; give every single mother you know a chance to tell her kids, "This could be you." Give every struggling, working0two0jobs-and-still-not-making-it man a chance. Give yourselves a chance to learn and grow right along with the rest of the country. While Obama is certainly not the Messiah, he is, I think, our greatest chance to become a nation we are once again proud of.