Some pretty amazing things are happening right now and will happen tomorrow. I dunno if my students will be paying attention to me or not (some of us have to work for a living so we can’t participate in the fun of the inaugaration) but I’ll be a talking-head at least to educate them on what they came to learn. As I live (as one of them crazy Canuckians on a legal visa) here during this process I’ve noticed a slight change in people. Even with the worst of the worst economic fears ahead of them, there is this little jump in their step, a smirk on their face. What ails the US (and often the rest of the world follows) won’t be solved overnight. Heck, it may never be solved.
But, when you give hope a door often opens that leads to something better and greater. Over my lifetime thus far, I’ve researched and learned about the idea of positive thinking. Now keep in my I ain’t an expert or anything but my understanding of it, as simple as it may be, is that if one thinks positively, good things will happen. More important if you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll feel more positive. Well.. yes and no. What I do know is this: we tend to like and want to be with happier people. And (I know it’s been reported somewhere) happier people are more productive, which means they’ll do more. When they do more, they’ll need more. When they need more, more jobs will be created to fill that void. And thus.. Well, you get the idea.
I think one of the most powerful things about what might be coming (assuming that what I’ve understood about Obama thus far) is that he really is open to all types of people, whether he agrees or not with them. And that is something that has been missing here for a while. The Invocation by Rev. V. Gene Robinson highlights that. I leave you with that in tonight’s blog.
By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009
Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.
O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…
Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.
Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.
Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.
Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.
Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.
And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.
Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.
Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.
Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.
Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.
Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.
Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.
And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.
You can see the video here. Apparently a speaker broke so many couldn’t hear it and HBO didn’t show it to the viewing audience.