Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Patience and Blessings Needed

This is a momentous day down in the USA and, by extension, for the rest of the world too. A new president is being sworn into office, but of course this just isn't any new president but an intelligent and articulate African American president with bold ideas. Since the whole election process drags on for so long, the significance is almost already beginning to dull, but it does represent an incredible change for those of us who remember darker times.

I was a teenager who was moved by the racial tensions and marches shown on our television sets in the early sixties. As a Canadian who lived far from the south, the images that I saw seemed like they came from a very far off place. A few years later, in 1967, when Cuppa and I were just getting to know each other, the racial troubles got a little closer to home when her parents found themselves visiting Cuppa's aunt in Detroit during the riots. In the years that followed, Cuppa and I had many opportunities to catch glimpses of the riot's aftermath when we visited the same aunt. Now, it seems not only far in terms of distance but also in terms of time. Yet it both is and isn't, for it's less than fifty years.

Here's a somewhat personal memory that I have from those days. Cuppa and I were sitting in an evening service of an evangelical church in 1969. It was testimony time, and one young man (but slightly older than I) got up and basically chided the church in general for having so little concern for involvement in human rights. He specifically mentioned the freedom marches. Most evangelicals were not so used to political involvement back then (my how times have changed), and it seemed an odd and out of place testimony, even to my ears. The minister must have thought so too because I remember him getting up and trying to smooth the waters by putting certain ideas down to youthful thinking. All I can say in support now is that the minsiter meant well.

Since then, evangelicals have become much more politicized, almost always in favour of the right wing agenda as it turns out, abortion being a huge issue. I'm not here to argue whether such concerns are valid or not, but I will say that I now wish that my church of the time had shown more leadership in the area of race and human rights.

Poor Barack has a very tough row to hoe. Whether it's the previous administrartion's fault or not, and I think some of it is, both America and the world are in quite a pickle, especially when you contrast our present mess afgainst the relative good times and prosperity that we enjoyed eight short years ago. Very poor decisions have been made, perhaps even with good intentions, and the decade has been one of terror, war and economic trouble. But I have hope that all sorts of things will be better and brighter in eight years time, for it would seem (knock on wood) that they could hardly be worse.

Regardless of political leanings, I trust that America and the world will rally behind this man and show a little patience as he tries to lead us upward, out of the muck. It will be difficult, for there is much to overcome, but let's hope that good decisions will begin to made, decisions that will begin to lift us all. God bless America; God bless us all!

15 comments:

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I find myself holding back from the enthusiasm for Obama as the political heros of my youth were snatched away by assassins.

I hope he rapidly get rid of some of the most annoying policies of the Bush Administration.

Amanda said...

I believe it can only get better!

-epm said...

Thanks for your insights, AC.

Politics and policies aside, the best thing Obama offers the US (and by extension, the world) is patience, reason, intelligence and a sense of fairness and justices. He'll be sorely tested by ideologues of all stripes. I'm hopeful that once again Reason will trump Ideology in American governance.

Oh how things have changed in America in 40 years. Oh how things have changed in eight years.

Ruth said...

I found the inauguration ceremony to be inspiring yet I know the reality of governing the nation will not be from the pinnacle Barack Obama stood on today. We have seen a lot of history made in our generation. The white evangelical church is largely Republican, but I think the black evangelicals have favoured the Democrats. A number of people from the black community in Kitchener travelled to Washington for the inauguration. A memorable day indeed!

Kila said...

I'm praying and hoping for the best. A new chapter...

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I feel like I can breathe for the first time in 8 years.

It's a good time to remember the genius of the Onion, an oldie but a goodie:
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28784

Ginnie said...

Thanks for your insightful ideas about our new President, AC. I was shocked and saddened by the loss of the heroes of my youth (as was our "Tossing Pebbles" friend), so I pray that Obama will be kept safe & be able to accomplish his great plans.
Maybe now our country will finally realize that we are one with the world.

ChrisB said...

AC I think that was beautifully said. I watched some of the ceremony on TV and I do believe that everyone will get behind him and be wishing him every success during his term of office. I think he has an uphill battle but will relish the challenge!

jinksy said...

I can only regret, that, having got comfy in front of the TV this afternoon to watch the proceedings, after seeing Obama come down the steps, the powers that be decided I should fall asleep - and that was how I stayed intil the closing minutes! Here's to the future, anyway!

Judy said...

Good insights, AC. Thank you for sharing them.

I could not watch it on live TV. I'm still not over the assassenation of MLK, Jr.

I pray that President Obama is well protected by forces both seen and unseen.

Why anyone would ever want that job...

Lorna said...

Part of me is hopeful, part of me was impressed by the emotion and dignity of the inauguration and part of me just says, Oh, get on with it!

Mary said...

AC,

You and I both grew up during the times of racial unrest and what a wonderful thing to see Barak Obama sworn in as the President of the US. I enjoyed your insight and your memories.

Blessings,
Mary

Donna said...

Beautifully said Ac! Being In the South, I've seen and heard things that would curl your toes. "Johnny Rebel" is still alive...much to our shame.

Woman in a Window said...

Here's hoping things improve in many ways, not just economics.

But yes, I get it when you say that it has been a long time and no time at all in regards to race issues being (somewhat) resolved. It really hasn't been that long since we were pretty much a bunch of idiots in regards to race (or any type of discrimination). Here's hoping the next few years have us feeling in our hearts that we're headed for much more enlightened times!

Pearl said...

It's good to see a leader taking the high inspiration road for sure. what did the CBC interview have as a stat after the inaugeration. at the rate of parity growth since the 1960s it would still take 500 years for full income parity to be reached in the US. a lot of shifting still to come.