'Shift' Has Happened: Hail to the New Chief

The major event of my day on January 20, 2009, was returning home from a quick trip to Northern California, where I interviewed two remarkable people. The major event of the world was the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States. While I’ve yet to see his entire address, the light of the shift that took place, shown everywhere.

As we waited to board a plane for Salt Lake City from San Jose, several people near me huddled around a laptop, watching his inaugural address stream wirelessly onto the screen in real time. I read text updates on my cell phone via a Yahoo application for the Blackberry, but was unable to get the videos to run. Whether my connection speeds were too slow or I didn’t allow enough time for them to start quickly became moot, as it was soon time to board the plane. Yet, the immediacy of the inauguration and events from 3,000 miles away, was real, and very cool.

Barack Obama’s ascendency to the highest office in the country, and what is arguably the most powerful public office in the world, has brought on a shift that is easily sensed. It’s a shift in sentiment; the feeling of a weight lifted. He has set a humanistic tone, affirming a kinship with, and representation for all people. He enlists all to come together in stewardship of the United States, and also, of the world. This sentiment is sensed, and celebrated, far beyond our shores.

The inclusive spirit brought forth by the new Commander and Chief immediately diffuses the tension of bellicose foreign policies, as humanity is re-introduced to our political reasoning. It’s no sign of weakness to address one’s enemy with respect; it’s the highest wisdom, the kind that can transform an enemy into a genuine and lasting friend.

The strategy of the former administration, of being willing to annihilate our enemy first before they could get to us, simply took us closer to our own annihilation, a truth that millions of Americans could plainly see.

President Bush and vice president Cheney provided us a very clear model of what we want to change from. In that respect, we should be grateful that needless annihilation didn’t happen. But now is not a time to sit back and see what the new president does. It’s time to realize that we must each participate in the shift that, as a result of this change in power, has just begun. The shift begins within ourselves.

A remarkable world stands ready to blossom from the soil of change, as we remove accumulated fearful toxicity that has strangled the human body and distorted the collective mind, replacing it with inspired creativity that honors and nourishes all. President Obama embraces an ideal, The Ideal, that inspired and fueled the growth of a nation, a truth that was self-evident, “that all are created equal.”

He has demonstrated a treasured and priceless remembrance, that all are worthy of respect. All are worth our human concern. All are able to learn. All are able to change. All are able to choose.

The opportunity that stands before us, is to provide more compelling, life affirming options to choose from. In that way, the safe, healthy, peaceful, plentiful, freedom respecting world that thrills us to imagine, will come into being.

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7 Thoughts to “'Shift' Has Happened: Hail to the New Chief”

  1. Clare

    Thank you once again for your “wisdom” . My father was an American serviceman, I was born in 1944, but I dont know who he is or was. I have always had a great interest and curiosity re the USA but have to say that for the first time since the Clinton Presidency can I feel good about saying “God Bless America”. I was thrilled to hear the President had restored foreign aid once again to Family Planning organisations all over the world. The Bush admin got it badly wrong in soooo many areas. You need to spend a year or twwo in places like India, Africa etc to understand that man made rules preaching about family planning etc are a load of rubbish. It this attitude that is in fact UNCHRISTIAN. If there was a second comming I believe that many so called Christians would be the first to be “smote” by Christ. What has been done in His name is sacreligeous.

  2. Thank you for your reply.

    I am not sure I follow this paragraph:

    Yes, all are worth human concern. Why? Because you can’t know who or what is a threat to you by politics, race, nationality, or religion. When you walk across a street, you’d better know that every driver in the cars that pass are worth your concern.

    Perhaps you can not be certain, but you can certainly suspect who (geopolitically anyway) who is most likely to be a threat. You use the example of drivers in cars, why are they a threat? They are a threat *due* to the fact that a car can fatally injury a pedestrian.

    You mention the taking of people’s llives that are “alive” already and contrast this with the unborn. Are these two mutually exclusive?

    Is it possible that teenage apathy and resentment follows from young people observing the culture of death all around them? The moral fabric of our culture continues to erode, perhaps the wholesale destruction of unborn babies is one of the causes and not just war.

    1. If we go around “suspecting” who may be a threat and be “on alert”, we’ll stress ourselves out. However, we’re also likely to overlook harm from other, “unsuspected” sources. It happens every day in medicine when millions of people take flu vaccines, chemotherapy, re-marketed rat poison for blood thinners, from people we trust and think are doing the best for us. However, they’re simply making a living. They’re not giving us the best, on the rationale that a lobbyist-influenced government agency has not approved vastly superior approaches. Yet, I respect them all.

      We can’t “suspect” and respect at the same time. Respect calls for civility, free exchange of ideas, giving the benefit of the doubt, honoring commitments. Suspicion requires a made-up mind, feeds on doubt, subterfuge, secrets, and innuendo. Hostility and its escalation is often an outgrowth of the latter stance. Behaving in that manner encourages others to behave that way toward us. None of it is necessary.

      You use the example of drivers in cars, why are they a threat? They are a threat *due* to the fact that a car can fatally injury a pedestrian.

      It was just an example. I thought of people who step out to cross a busy street in a crosswalk, in the path of coming traffic. Because “the law is on their side,” some of them will look straight ahead, ignoring what’s coming, totally trusting drivers to see them and know that they are supposed to stop. The person in the crosswalk may be “right,” but could be dead right because he let ideological “righteousness” stand in for common sense. If he simply turned his head and watched what was happening when and where, he’d notice a car that wasn’t slowing down and could stop himself. It’s not the car that’s I’m pointing to, it’s the awareness of the person who is vulnerable to being hit simply by thinking their being “right” (in this case, between the crosswalk lines) protects them from potential harm.

      Being present, alert, open, and ready for the best to happen, is the best way to make it happen. We’ll never get the best by expecting and preparing for the worst.

      Even if “the enemy” is hostile, it is not necessary to be hostile in reply. We need not be intimidated because someone else is trying to intimidate us. We also need not try to intimidate others to get our way. It wreaks of arrogance, when in fact, it is simply puerile behavior.

      You mention the taking of people’s llives that are “alive” already and contrast this with the unborn. Are these two mutually exclusive?

      The major difference between the unborn and the born is a physical body. I don’t believe a life is ever taken. However experiential opportunities are. Therefore, a greater impact is made on the world to involuntarily terminate a physical PRESENCE than a physical potential. Life is not limited to the physical plane, and the concept of “killing” is not relevant anywhere other than here. Everyone “here” came from somewhere else, and everyone will leave, one way or another. The issue here is respecting the life of all who are present as a way toward respecting the life of all, period.


  3. Your post is very well written. I do have a question for you though:

    Do you really believe that All are worth human concern? Do you really believe that the ideology espoused by liberalism is life affirming when it denies life to those who are the most helpless?

    1. Yes, all are worth human concern. Why? Because you can’t know who or what is a threat to you by politics, race, nationality, or religion. When you walk across a street, you’d better know that every driver in the cars that pass are worth your concern. This is not a liberal ideology. Liberal ideology would be that “the rich” are not worth being concerned about.

      I guess your reference to “denying life to those who are the most helpless” refers to abortion. What about taking the life of those who are already present, already hungry, and already feel marginalized and under attack by people who care more about what’s under the ground than those who are on it? Reverse the roles, putting yourself in their position and see how you’d feel. What we’ve seen as hatred coming from the Middle East is not simply a religious or nationalistic issue. It’s fueled by a lack of respect… and lack of humanity from the country that has long stood for health, wealth, and freedom… but at whose expense?

      If we begin respecting people who are present, including the indigent, including our “enemies” who — due to festering toxic thoughts and attitudes about us — could “go off” at any time, or for reasons that we cannot fathom, perhaps fewer abortions will be chosen.

      However, if terminating the life of an unborn fetus is unwise, then taking the life of someone who is already here, is in my opinion, a greater offense. Why? Because that person who is hungry, who has been marginalized, who is being treated as though he is of little value, will begin to value himself less, and then in turn, have little value for others. This is not just an issue of terrorism in, or from the Middle East. This is happening throughout America right now, in gang violence, in teen apathy and under achievement, and in suburban households that are buckling under the pressure to maintain the look of respectability while an exploitative system (government, health care, artificial foodstuffs, etc.) “nickels and dimes” them into chronic disease and bankruptcy.

      The unlived life of the unborn is not nearly the threat to your safety as the lives of the needlessly exploited and marginalized who have become angry and resentful. Yet, all are worth respect and concern, and it’s great that the new president appears to understand that, and is willing to put such a vision into his policies.

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