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.