At the very least, there’s a new face on the American reputation. I don’t know if things will really change. No one does. All I know is that we have a chance to change the direction of the American experiment, and I like our chances for the first time in a long time. Were I teaching at Bel Air High School tomorrow, I would be proud to pledge allegiance to the American flag with my students, for the first time in 7 years.
I know the Pledge of Allegiance is only words, just as the Inaugural Address was only words, but words have power. Words are what set us apart from the rest of the Animal Kingdom, words are what give us justice, conscience, faith and hope. Words are how we build compromise, and that’s exactly what Barack Obama’s words promise to Americans and to all the peoples our policies effect. I will no doubt be hearing complaints here that he didn’t reference Gaza specifically, but not only was this not the pulpit for that, but I was pleasantly surprised at how openly Obama addressed the issues that effect us most here in the Middle East. I’m impressed by his humility, that he is resisting the urge to wave the Big Stick, and instead extending an olive branch. It was hard to tell if my goosebumps were from the chill in the apartment, or the chill of hope inspired by Barack Obama’s words. (It could well be the former, since I got goosebumps in the middle of Rev. Jeff Warren’s inaugural prayer, as well, though I admit that he was pretty darn good, too.)
The decisiveness of Barack Obama’s election restored my faith in American democracy. Obama’s words today have gone a long way towards restoring my faith in the American experiment.
Yes, Rev. Dr. Lowry, let our tanks be beaten into tractors!