Thursday, January 22, 2009

This Land Is Our Land

The post I want to write will take me a little longer. So let me simply offer a few snapshots.

I am very fortunate in that I live, work, and attend church in places which have ethnic and other kinds of diversity. But not everywhere I go looks like that. The people on the Mall looked like America. The buses came from everywhere. I talked with a teacher from DeKalb, Illinois, a group of Native Americans from eastern Oregon, local folks from DC. The American idea has always been that we are more than the sum of our parts.

[The photo is of Lisa Bellan-Boyer, singing "This Land is Your Land."]

During the inauguration ceremony, the area surrounding the Capital, Mall, and parade route was temporarily the 5th largest city in the U.S. The DC folks should have consulted with United for Peace and Justice on crowd management. The numbers were through the roof – the planning was not.

My favorite official picture of the day: President-Elect Obama with his hand on the Bible used to swear in Pres. Lincoln, held by Ms. Obama.

“Obama laid his hand on the burgundy-velvet-covered Bible that Abraham Lincoln used for his inauguration in 1861, and history again trembled. The chief justice that day was Marylander Roger B. Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision that said blacks could never be citizens. The Constitution, he said, recognized blacks as ‘beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations’” "A Historic Inauguration Draws Throngs To the Mall," Washington Post, January 21, 2009.

I was happy to hear Rev. Rick Warren pray for the protection of this President and his family, a prayer I have heard before, and one which I hope is answered throughout his term of office. And for Rev. Joseph Lowery, an American hero, to pray with words of the great hymn: “Thou who hast brought us thus far along the way... Keep us forever in the path, we pray..."

And then there was that name: “I, Barack Hussein Obama...”

Change has been a long time comin'. And I know we won't get fully where we ought to go. But we have made another installment payment towards realizing the American promise.
 

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