Reflection 52: Inauguration

January 20, 2009

(Copyright © 2009)

 

Inauguration! Think what it means to make a new beginning under favorable auspices. Augurs foretell the future through the reading of signs, then usher in that future by steering the course of public events. If the signs are not favorable, events are put off until the situation improves. Joy has been stifled in this nation for eight years. Today, hope is the watchword, for today Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th president of the United State of America.

 

Yes, America’s first black president. That is auspicious in itself. But Obama is more than that. He has not been elected solely because he is black but too because of his spirit, intelligence, understanding, and abilities. As a matter of fact, he is black.

 

In a democracy, the powers look not to flights of birds or animal tracks as signs but to the collective voice of the people. We are those powers—the augurs of today. The people have spoken. Let the celebration begin! Millions are attending inaugural events in the nation’s capitol with great expectations. Change is in the air. Optimism is high, even as days are short, chill, and gray. Music and dancing are wholly appropriate to this splendid occasion.

 

For eight years the consciousness of the American people has been manipulated by national leaders to suit their own purposes. Government transparency has been undone by secrecy. The national purpose has been implemented through torture and violence, not diplomacy. Imagine waging a preemptive war to spread freedom and democracy! Initially, the people went along because their leaders played on their fears. September 11, 2001 was a terrifying day. Needing to make a bold response quickly, our leaders took an old plan off the shelf and prepared to invade Iraq, hoping no one would notice that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the Twin Towers attack. They also diverted public attention from their confusion by telling people to spend in the national interest. But when spending and fighting led only to more violence and chaos, the people no longer believed what their leaders were telling them. They opened their eyes and saw for themselves.

 

Come to their senses, along with their true feelings and judgment, the people of America deliberately selected the Obama-Biden team to lead them, not McCain-Palin. Today, the situation is reversed. Bush-Cheney and the stupor they foist on the public are ousted. Hope founded on competence and compassion are installed in their place by the new administration taking office today.

 

Indeed, signs are favorable that the new administration will implement justice for all, not just the powerful few; true economic recovery, not undeserved pork; an era of dialogue, not military coercion. Starting today, the American people can hope to thrive again under President Obama. Their wits restored, the people can dare to be conscious for themselves and not bow to the will of a devious and aggressive elite.

 

The signs are auspicious, the time is right, the people are ready. Let the inauguration usher us into the next eight years with hope and determination sufficient to keep our minds focused on the challenges ahead.

 

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Reflection 30: Barack and I

November 29, 2008

(Copyright © 2008) 

Barack Obama and I make a pretty good team. He handles his end, I handle mine. I’ll start with my end since it’s fresh in my mind.

 

I’ve honed Saturday mornings to a fine routine. Get up, shower, put a week’s dirty clothes in the washer, make breakfast, put clothes in the dryer, read the paper, take clothes out of the dryer, sort and fold, make the bed, blog, go to the post office, make lunch, and so on.

 

This Saturday is different. I get up too late to beat other tenants to the washer. Do breakfast first. I still take eye drops after cataract surgery, so squirt both eyes. Made yogurt last night, so go to take the four quart jars out of the oven (warmed by the oven light), and find one jar has cracked in the night. The bottom of the oven is a pool of milky water. Reaching for paper towels, I knock six plastic water bottles off the shelf where I’d left them in plain view as a reminder to recycle them. Kicking bottles aside, I kneel and sop up the mess. Throwing wet towels toward the wastebasket, I notice flying ants crawling up the wall, a squadron of five. Squish the ants. Notice others on the floor. Squish them, too. Back to the oven. Take more eye drops. Start heating buckwheat for breakfast. Continue kneeling, kicking bottles, sopping, squishing ants. Put broken shards in the sink, rinse, put in drainer to dry so I can recycle them. Eat breakfast. Take the last of this round of drops.

 

Whenever I revert to the standard routine, I don’t have to think about it. I just do it by rote. This particular Saturday my consciousness is in gear the whole time. I am keenly alert, aware even of being aware. I notice that I notice myself noticing. I am blogging as I live the event, separating novel sequences from the standard routine. For the first time appreciating the routine as what it is.

 

Phone rings. It’s Carole. We talk about what to have for dinner, who will bring what. I have rice and broccoli, she turkey leftovers. I tell her about my morning so far. She tells me Barack Obama held three press conferences in three days. He’s really taking charge. The market has noticed and held its own. Meanwhile, Michele asks him if he’s going to take the children to school tomorrow. Sounds a lot like my day. He handles the financial mess, I clean the oven; he takes the kids to school, I kill flying ants. Between the two of us there’s hope. If we all do our part.

 

Such is consciousness. With eyes and ears open, and wits about us, we can plunge into novel situations. Rise above our habitual selves. Handle things our mother’s never told us about.

 

Consciousness is closely related to imagination and creativity. To looking ahead, not back. Thinking outside the box. Rising to the occasion. Doing what needs to be done.

 

Too, I think consciousness is contagious. It takes one person noticing something new, then acting appropriately. Dealing with the problem. That’s called leadership. The rest of us wake up, open our eyes, and see what now seems so obvious but was hidden only yesterday.

 

It’s been a great Saturday so far. Hope is in the air. The sun is shining, the stove is clean, Barack is on top of things. The day isn’t done yet, but we’ve made a good beginning.

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