It's been a too long, too long-time a-coming,
But I know a change is gonna come,
Oh, yes, it is.
Four and a half years ago, during a sticky contention-laden election summer, I was introduced, along with the rest of the world, to a man about my age who shared his story, speaking earnestly and passionately about his ideals and ethics and passions. I listened, rapt with attention, to his address, processing every word and absorbing every nuance.
This man, a self-proclaimed “skinny kid with a funny name,” made an impact on me with his intelligence, his fervor, his rhetoric, his youth.
A passage from his remarks resonated deeply, even days later.
Still does, as a matter of fact.
“Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.”
Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child, things'll be brighter
Some day, yeah
We'll put it together and we'll get it all done
When your head is much lighter
Some day, yeah
We'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
When the world is much brighter
Two years ago, I picked up a book, with a familiar title, by an author with a familiar name. I read it in bits and pieces, taking time to appreciate the words on the page and to absorb their nuance.
I was re-introduced to a man who, I was heartened to discover, thought like I did, believed in the same things I did, approached his faith in God and his Christianity like I did – and who chose public service as his career and passion.
My idealism, bruised by the actions and inactions of current politics, began to mend just a bit.
And when he announced the formation of his Presidential exploratory committee, I happily blogged about it and bookmarked myobama.com for future and constant reference.
The rest, as they say, is history.
This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
Barack Obama is my President.
Barack Obama is my peer, in a manner of speaking. We are roughly the same age, give or take a couple of years.
Barack Obama is my contemporary, in the purest sense of the word.
And that speaks volumes and means more to me than I ever realized.
My president is going to be a man who has the same pop culture references as I do, the same framework of world events as I do, the same generational attitude as I do. We could have been classmates in high school or college. We speak a similar language.
He represents me – my history, my present, my future.
And that makes my heart swell with pride and giddy anticipation.
It’s our generation’s turn at bat. To make a difference. To create and execute change. To define America.
With an exceptional man leading the way. Through incumbent challenges and endless possibilities.
And while the significance of his ethnicity and its relationship to this office and our country is not lost on me in the least, when I look at President Obama, I simply see a man whom I trust, respect, believe in and yes, genuinely like. A man for whom I am proud to have voted and excited to call my President.
So, what does this inauguration mean to me? It means…
… that pragmatic idealism is not a futile endeavor and is worth pursuing.
… that positive, pro-active thinking has been given a welcomed place in our society.
… that basic human values and decency are still important.
… that We the People still has merit and legitimate meaning.
… that citizens want to be part of the solution – not simply finger-pointing by-standers.
… that the senses of community, of participation, of investment are infectious and contagious and ubiquitous from sea to shining sea.
As January 20th approaches , I am overflowing with anticipation and faith, and yes, those oft cliché-laden terms of “hope” and “change.”
But somehow it all works – it’s fresh and crisp and sharp.
We will be poised on a genesis of potential on this day.
That change is not just gonna come – it’s here.
God Bless America. God bless our President.