Monday, January 19, 2009

Today is a real break with the past; let's look forward to the future

No matter what one may think about the future and the role the President-elect (for about another 11 hrs and 40 min) will play in it, it seems impossible not to get caught up in the inauguration celebrations going on in Washington and around the nation, The absolute appropriateness of the inauguration of the first president-of-color coming one day after the birthday of Martin Luther king, who must be smiling today, links the present to the past. (In 1964, Dr. King predicted that there would be a Black president "within 40 years".)

Beginning Sunday with the We Are One, the Obama inaugural celebration, and all it meant to see Pete Seeger there emotions have been very close to the surface. This can't be anything but a thrill to people who have been fighting against racism all our adult lives. But I think above all the faces of people of color in Washington, particularly the kids, speak loudly about what today's events mean, not just here, but around the world.

I think that today we will witness the inauguration of the first people's president in my lifetime. As I said at the beginning, no one knows what the future holds, but today (with the exception of the Bigoted Rev. Rick Warren) is all for the good. Let's hope the administration lives up to its first moments.

Power to the people!


How To Start A Business In North Carolina said...

It has been a long journey for improvements on civil rights and equality, and with Obama being sworn in, the civil rights movement have come full circle since the “I have a dream speech”. I hope Obama can concentrate on increasing jobs, advancing education, and the decreasing of our dependence on fossil fuels.

Contested Terrain said...

Thanks for your comment. It certainly "has been a long journey," but I think it's a mistake to think that today "the civil rights movement [has] come full circle since the 'I have a dream speech'". Martin's speech (and the movement) was about much more than than one man - no matter how significant he is. "Increasing jobs [and equality], advancing education and decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels" and abandoning militarism as the only solution to international problems are indeed the challenges ahead. Let's keep our eyes upon the prize and hold the 44th president's feet to the fire.