I drove into work this morning and was struck by the fact that most of the gates were removed, the security barricades were gone, and screening facilities from yesterday were removed. As I drove through what was a massive screening and holding location yesterday, it dawned on me that less than 18 hours ago, we all witnessed history with the Inauguration of Barack Obama.
There was excitement in the air, people of all races and backgrounds became friends on long lines and even longer metro rides. As I waited for the security guard to clear me to enter the Capitol, I stopped and thought what a fragile state our country is in.
Could the good feelings of yesterday be wiped away as easily as the barricades were removed, or will all of us that were on the grounds of the Capitol yesterday leave this place and return to their respective homes with this sense of history, cooperation, and collaboration for the good of the nation?
This morning I logged onto the White House website and saw the message that read “Change has Come to America.” I want and pray that change has landed on our doorsteps and I hope that change has truly come to America. But as I sat in the crowd of 1.8 million people yesterday, my excitement, hope and joy of the day was replaced by the harsh reality that we as a nation will never change until and unless we are willing to embrace change.
No one – neither Republicans, nor Democrats, conservatives nor liberals – are immune from a failure to embrace change. And no matter how often we say Change has Come to America, we can’t just will it to happen, we must all embrace it.
The “event” that triggered all of this concern for me was the introduction of the 43rd President of the United States yesterday. As George W. Bush was introduced, the crowd erupted in loud roar of boos and hisses – reminiscent of an angry mob at a sporting event. But here is the difference; this was not a sporting event. The fight was over, George W. Bush’s party lost the Presidency and we were there to honor the historic nature of the inauguration of America’s first African American President and the time honored tradition of our peaceful transfer of power. The protests and objections against the Bush Presidency are over. The message was heard. His party lost. OUR new President won.
I did not agree with everything the Bush Administration did, but I do know this – George Bush ran for election, won the election (twice) and held the office of President of the United States. If you don’t respect the man, one should at least respect the office. I did not vote for Barrack Obama, but I respect the office he has attained. I want him to be successful and I pray that he is able to accomplish half of what he sets out to do. And I know that President Obama wants us all to work together, because as he said yesterday, “together, we can do anything.” The first step in achieving that goal is to stop looking in the rear view mirror and start looking ahead.
There are too many challenges that stand before us. We cannot afford to point fingers or lay blame. That is not the tone of our new President and hopefully he will inspire those who decide to stand still or even move backwards to rethink their decision.
Today we stand at the threshold of a new day. We have added a new milestone in our collective history. And it will all be for not until we all embrace the hope that President Obama espouses. If we as a nation don’t take this opportunity to walk this journey with our new President, his vision of “Change has Come to America” will never truly be realized. And what a shame that lost opportunity would be for all of us.