Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Only The Beginning

Today is inauguration day. Coincidentally, it follows Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It's almost kismet.

I've been reading countless headlines, blogs, editorials, articles for the many weeks leading up to this historic day. The consensus is the same and most Americans are feeling the way I feel when I think about what today represents.

And while my heart is full of hope and pride at the thought that today could be the changing day for all of us, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed and embittered by certain things that are happening that surround this seemingly fanaticized event.

Firstly, I do want to say that I recognize this to be a milestone for us as a society and people. It lends optimism that maybe racism is facing its demise. Yes, Barack Obama will be the first non-caucasian president; at least that's how I see it. However, I keep reading and seeing "THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT" in almost every article- I will reiterate that this is a great stride for us as a people and society - but race WAS NOT the centerpiece of this election and campaign.

Wow AMERICA! Shocker; you did it yet AGAIN! You took something COMPLETELY out of context. Have we all forgotten that we are in probably one of the worst economic crises we've ever seen since probably the Depression? Have we forgotten that Gaza and Israel are at it - yet again? Have we forgotten that our foreign policy was completely muddled during Bush's occupation? Parts of New Orleans are still in complete shambles.

Yes, Obama is black. We all can see this. But, I can't recall one occassion where he flat out said "I will be the first Black president". Obviously, it was implicit in his campaign that being half-black was something to set him apart from McCain - but he NEVER flat out said it. Even in his victory speech; not one mention of being black. Actually, what he did say was this:

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.
We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America."

And just in case you wanted to read his speech to get some clarification, here's the link: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/04/obama.transcript/

This was a victory for all of us. Everyone! Not just for one group. We are all suffering. I'm sure that in one point or another in our lives we've been overlooked or taken advantage of or punished for something we had no control over. We are meant to be a united people. Our race should not be what seperates us but what brings us together in understanding one another.

That is Obama's message and I believe that is his purpose; bringing us together as a nation so that we may face the future together. (I know, it all sounds so "Cumbaya" - but w/e, a little never hurts)

Secondly, Barack Obama is only a man. Flesh and blood. He's human. He is not God nor the Second Coming (Although, his eloquence is worthy of some Christ-like comparison)
He hasn't even taken office yet and we're all weepy-eyed and joyful that our trouble are over. We don't even know how he's going to be once he's taken office and gets into the swing of things.

Production houses are already planning movies and speculation about who will be cast as Obama is circulating all the celebrity and enterainment websites (I know this because I spend a better part of my evening after work checking these websites out - it's a guilty pleasure).

Pump the brakes. Didn't momma ever tell you, "don't count your chickens before they've hatched"?

We all needed a change and hope - but we cannot rest ALL of our hopes and dreams on this one man.

Hello America...Obama's job is to help us get our sh*t together. That's what we need. We don't need a savior. We need a guidance counselor.

You ever heard the saying, "teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime".

Well, Mr. President [as of noon on 1/20/09], teach me how to fish.

Who's coming with?
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