I listened to the speech… and I marveled: here is a man who has few (name some?) notable political accomplishments — what track record demonstrates what he says is what he will do. Nothing really — other than becoming a US Senator, delivering attention grabbing, dazzling speeches, and being elected President of the United States. I marvel. Still, I marvel how it all came about anyway.
After a little nervous bungle taking the oath of office, he was to deliver his highly anticipated speech — a speech that was ‘presidential’ and well delivered — but not necessarily memorable. I guess I expected to hear lines that would become trademark quotes – like his Change! and Yes, we can campaign slogans. Time will tell what the rhetoric produces and what comes of rebuilding America. I keep wondering, with what? And how will the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan be financed and… hmmm, what is it, really?
It was a beautiful day… and I think marred only by an unnecessary comment by Joseph Lowery. I listened intently to what I thought was a remarkably humble prayer and then I gasped…
We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day,” said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, in delivering the inaugural benediction prayer. In that prayer he asked that Americans to hold on to the spirit of fellowship after leaving this mountaintop. He asked that we make “choices on the side of love, not hate, on the side of inclusion not exclusion, tolerance not intolerance…” Then, [and, really, was this to the Lord?!], “We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right,” Lowery said.
When white will embrace what is right?! I don’t know why Lowery said some of what he said today — what score he was attempting to settle or rehash or dig up? But I think it ought to be noted and remembered that BH Obama’s mother embraced what was right when she, as an unwed mother, chose life and did not abort her unborn baby.
I know it’s part of an American dream that a man of “colour” would one day be President. But somehow, it seems, lost in all of this is the fact that Obama is the product of two races — a Kenyan father and a white mother, two faiths, two nations… a white (unwed at the time) mother who did what was right in not taking the life of her unborn baby. [May her son not forget that and have a change of heart when it comes time to take that pen in his left hand… as he promised that the first piece of legislation he would sign is the “freedom of choice act.” ]
It was or could have been a righteous prayer – instead, it was cheapened… the reverence diminished to, in part, a civil rights era speech and an impassioned plea all wrapped up in a benediction. If this election wasn’t about race — if we’ve moved on as a nation — if we’ve matured as a nation — then why dig up and tritely rehearse negative racial divisions? Many of us and our children rejoice to live in a day in a nation where race does not define or determine a person’s value or importance. There was no place for those derogatory, once stereotypical racial comments — no place for reintroducing what has been a hard won battle against discrimination and ‘class’ — especially in such a ceremony inaugurating the 44th President of the United States — the son of a white mother and Kenyan father.