Monday, January 19, 2009

Various pre-inaugural thoughts

My mind (and I sense I am not alone in this) is full of thoughts of tomorrow's inauguration. I'm crying at the drop of a hat these days just thinking about it. Yesterday, driving to a friend's house for lunch after church, I heard a smattering of the concert at the Lincoln Memorial and it seemed that everything made me cry, but nothing so much as hearing Marian Anderson singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."

The other song that's killing me, strangely, is Carly Simon's "Let the River Run." Strangely because, of course, that was the theme song to Working Girl, a movie about making it on Wall Street. But the song itself speaks to me of liberation. I particularly love the line, "Let all the dreamers wake the nation," which seems emblematic of this election for me.

Terrible video, but I've always loved this song.

Also this morning in the Bay Area section of the Chronicle there were several inaugural-related articles, two of which particularly caught my eye.

The first was a story of Betty Soskin, 87, the oldest active National Park Service ranger in the country, who will be at the inauguration as the guest of Rep. George Miller -- my representative in Martinez! The great-granddaughter of a slave,

"From the age of 13, I haven't ever said the final words to the Pledge of Allegiance out loud" said Soskin..."You know, the words about 'liberty and justice for all.' I just couldn't let those words out of my mouth, because I knew they weren't true for me.

"But at the inauguration, I will say them for the first time in more than 70 years. It's a small thing, I know," she added, laughing joyously, "but I am going to say them -- and say them loud!"

I also loved the story of the six-year-old rapper with his new video, "Obama made me proud." Obama's been running for president since he was four.

My first clear memory of national politics was seeing Jimmy Carter sworn in. All the students at Del Mar Elementary watched the occasion on TVs set up in the cafeteria. I remember it vividly. I am just imagining how many children, of all races, are going to be watching the inauguration tomorrow and I can only guess what kind of impact that will have. I truly believe that the impression made by this election will be deep and lasting. Perhaps I am overstating the case, but I suspect this of changing the country forever.

Obama made a lot of people proud, in the best sense of the word. What a wonderful way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

No comments: