The incoming first family of the United States of America. Tears stream down my face, with happiness. I am a mess! and I know I am not alone. We love them already, and our relationship has only just begun. We are on the verge of an unprecedented leap into a field of pure possibility, and that was probably inevitable, one way or the other. Some might call it free fall, sure enough. But still...
Because Barack Obama will be in the White House, everything will be different. We now stand a chance. As I listened to him speak last night, utterly transfixed, this thought dawned on me: “We have a leader.” And, as I dare say time will show, a genuinely remarkable one.
My heart is full. For this morning, joy is enough; I will not aspire to eloquence. For that I will turn to our great Maya Angelou, with the poem delivered by her back in January of 1993 on the occasion of President Clinton’s inauguration.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country…
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
God bless Barack and Michelle as they step forward, carrying our hearts and fragile hope with them. God, keep them safe and always in your hands.
And help us open up our hearts as we’ve not been able in a long, long time, most especially to one another here at home. May our very first act be to consciously reach out a hand of sincere friendship and honest compassion to each and every one of our fellow Americans, and may we consistently keep on doing so. We are each and every one of us essential. Remember this absolute truth, please, and keep it with you (for it is an enriching thing):
None of us can ever really know which singular soul will rise up to help us or those we love when most needed, or somehow assume a leadership role, smaller or larger, and lift up the country, or lead us toward some remarkable breakthrough. That being the case, why allow our petty or well-worn assumptions to silently slam shut such doors of possibility?
In time, all will come to understand that, as of last night, all Americans are part of, and take a personal stake in, a huge victory.
Many good people have been made afraid of the very idea of President Obama. This is not their fault. Let us not judge them, nor keep on taking the bait of continued shadow boxing. We need not agree. But we all thrive with respect, and each want to be heard and understood. Just now, on this beautiful morning, I feel like there is all the room in the world for all of us. And, we are all needed.
The huge and often dark lessons of the last eight years cannot and should not be forgotten, it is true. But today, thank God!, is a new day. Let us embrace it, eyes, heart, and arms wide open. To one another, to the world.
The time is now. It is all just beginning.
Let’s make it good.