Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a momentous day

Hope? Change? Race? What is the key word for this momentous day in the United States?

Watching the inauguration coverage unfold last night, the news, the entertainment, the question came up about race. If we are indeed a nation united, and all men are equal, why do they keep bringing up the race card? Is this election all about race? Well it is not all about race, of course, but a lot.

Millions of white people didn't vote for Mr. Obama because he is black, but because of his message, his quest for change, hope for a better country. But race is probably the reason that millions of black people voted for him, because of his message, his quest for change, hope for a better country, a united country.

I was recently reading a book about quilts and the underground railroad, how the designs sewn into slave quilts were traced back to their origin, a culture of people in Africa. One sentence stood out in my mind, something like: The Americans didn't bring slaves from Africa, the Americans brought back people and made them into slaves. People who had family, society, culture, history.

The connection and symbolism to Lincoln this week is sobering. The train ride, the celebration at the Lincoln memorial, the bible being used today, it was even noted that the Capitol steps where Obama will be sworn in were built with slave labor.

The country has come a long way, no doubt. Polls say that the black population feel that today is the realization of the dream of Dr. King. If today is the day the black people finally feel equal in America, then today is indeed a momentous day.

The barrage of images of Lincoln, King, and Kennedy on television this week, the comparisons, the historic words spoken by each, the impact of their lives on each of us, puts a knot in my stomach. I hope security is very strong today and for the next 4 years. That infamous song doesn't need another verse.

I hope all goes well today in the nation's capitol. I hope the new first couple dance the night away and wake up smiling tomorrow. I hope that all the people who traveled to this momentous event are safe and stay warm and can see the festivities and can find a portapotty when they need one.

Hope is the keyword today, hope is what we have.


ET said...

We hope all goes well in DC today too. Some people find change very hard to accept.
Great post!

Jellyhead said...

I'm with ET - this is a really eloquent post Susan.

I, too, am nervous for Barack Obama, because as much as things have changed, there are still racist people in the world with hate in their hearts.

All we can do is hope for the best, and do our bit to move forward and make the world a better place.

I really enjoyed reading what you had to say Susan. Have a wonderful day :-)

CathyB said...

Excellent post, Susan! I love your blog. I'm going to add it to my bloglist over on CathyB. Hope you're staying warm! It's in the 20s here. Brrr. Are you still in the trailer in Royston? I was in Highlands this past weekend for a scrapbook retreat and we had a couple inches of snow. It was beautiful! Fortunately we got off the mountain before it froze! Looking forward to following your blog. Stop by mine when you can. Happy mobile transcribing!! CathyB

colleen said...

I agree that race is being overhyped in the media and I personally would have liked more said and celebrated about the content of Barack's character, his intelligence, and message. On the other hand, it is historically momentous that a biracial man is in the White House, so I'm okay with letting expressions of that play out. I hope they play out soon. He is so much more than a black man. He's the real deal complete package.

Carrie said...

I agree with Colleen. He is more than a black man.

Great post MOM!

Love ya!