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!