Today we, the people of the United States of America, inaugurate a new president. Think about it. That is a powerful thing. It is an amazing thing. We go to the polls with the full expectation that our vote will count, each and every one of us. We don't have to vote for a certain person because we have been told to vote for that person, or because the ruling party members stand over our shoulders and make sure that we vote "the right way". We go and pull the lever or punch the card or touch the screen for the person that we want to vote for. There is generally no violence, there is no fear that the election won't count. I am not getting into the debacle that was 2000. Bush won that election, even the New York Times acknowledged it, albeit on the back page of the back section weeks later in very small print.
So, today we elect Barak Hussein Obama as the 44nd President of the United States of America. He was not my choice, we all know that. But even if he wasn't that doesn't mean that I wish him ill. Just the opposite in fact. I want him to be a good and successful president. I will give him the respect that is due him for the office that he holds (the same does not hold true for the truely loathsome Democrats in Congress but that is best saved for another post). I will pray for him and his family daily. And, I will rejoice that we in this country have elected a black man to the office of the president.
I think about a portion of Martin Luther King's Letter From A Birmingham Jail when I think about the election of a black man to the presidency. You need to read the entire letter for yourself, it is well worth the time. But the part that comes to my mind is:
We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tip-toe stance never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"; then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of despair.Never again to I want to hear that a black person, here in these wonderful United States, can't make something of himself or herself. Racism, as it existed for MLK and in that time, does not exist now. Do not tell me that it does because it does not. Opportunities are open for all even if you are a kid from the projects. If you want to make something of yourself you can. Just because you choose to dress like a thug and speak in an unintelligble way don't claim racism to me.
President Obama has promised many things to many people and already he has acknowledged that he will not be able to deliver on some of those promises. Many view him as "The One, the Messiah, the one we have been waiting for". That is a scary thing. He is a human just like you and I, with good and bad points just like you and I. He has feet of clay. When he doesn't live up to the shining and lofty things that many are expecting of him what will those people do? My daughter suggested that if and when that happens people will say that he really isn't "black enough". I wouldn't be surprised.
I pray that Barak Obama's commitment to his wife and family will be an inspiration to a generation of black men and women where births run around 70% out of wedlock and where stable marriages and husbands and fathers in the home are a rarity. Just as an aside I think it is pretty darn cool that he is moving his mother-in-law into the White House.
I pray for the safety and health of our new president. For the safety of his family.
I pray for wisdom for him in what I think is the hardest job in the world. That he would always have in the forefront of his thinking what would be best for all the people in this country. That he would not cave into pressure from those on the far left who would take our country softly but swiftly down a path that looks like socialism.
I pray that our military men and women will learn to respect him as he is their Commander in Chief. This one may be a tough sell but you never know.
I will watch some of the Inauguration festivities today even though I find it rather offensive that in a time when there are so many who have lost jobs and homes, who are struggling day to day to make ends meet, that the new administration will spend a reported $150 MILLION on all the Inauguration festivities. I will listen closely to what President Obama has to say in his speech. And I will wait. I will wait to see the tone that he sets in the first 100 days or so. I will wait to see what he does and how he handles the House and Senate. I will give him the benefit of the doubt (unlike those on the left who never did that for GWB). And most of all I will pray. For I know that the Lord is soverign over all and that this President serves because my God will it so.