Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hail to the Chief

I watched little bits of the inauguration Tuesday. I was supposed to be working, after all. One of my co-workers, who is very internet savvy, showed me a site from CNN and Facebook that showed live video of the festivities accompanied by live conversation from people all over the world.

I was amazed at the technology--watching "TV" on my computer and reading what people thought about the event at the same time. The comments came almost too fast to read. Most were excited about what they saw, writing about tears, goose bumps, even dancing.

I was able to select an option that would show me what my group of Facebook friends had to say. Some of my friends weren't as supportive. One person even said something about the end of the world.

My feelings fell somewhere in between. I don't agree with many of President Obama's views so I'm not overjoyed that he is our leader. I felt no goose bumps. (Except during the parade, but that had more to do with the five rows of fife players in the fife and drum band. My piccolo-playing heart nearly burst with pride.) But at the same time I share a sense of collective accomplishment that our country has elected an African American president. In a way, it is the ultimate expression of the crumbling of racial barriers. That is something to be very proud of.

But at the same time, I also believe many people voted for Obama simply because he is part African American. To me, that says race still divides us. We haven't become colorblind, we've become color blended. We happily coexist, but we're still very aware of our differences. I'm proud that President Obama's color didn't keep him from office. But it may have helped him get into office, and that isn't right either.

I look forward to the day when race really isn't a factor, when people are elected because of their ability to serve, their stand on important issues, their character. I'm praying President Obama will be the kind of leader I'll be proud to support. I'll let him prove himself. Then I'll start dancing.

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