Inauguration Day:We were on fire!

January 22, 2013 by  

The swearing in of President Obama (CBS photo)

While the official swearing in of President Barrack Hussein Obama took place in private on January 20, in accordance with law, a very public celebration unfolded before a very exuberant crowd of thousands of America. No matter how you viewed him, waving at the people, giving his powerful and inspiring speech or simply walking with the First Lady along the parade route, every thing about the president supported the words sang by Alicia Keys, "Obama is on fire."

The president has always been articulate and intelligent but on Monday he showed the people something extra. A CNN reporter called it, "swagger." It appeared to be so.

There will always be partisans and divisive personalities who fail to embrace or see the larger picture that is America. Yet, it does not take much effort to recognize that despite centuries of Social injustice and de facto and de jure discrimation across the board Americans have proven that we possess the ability to change. We can say that we have demonstrated before the world that Democracy works. Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. fought hard for basic Civil Rights for African Americans, and later for others. There was a time when an African American could not even enjoy a meal in a restaurant. He could not use a restroom on a cross-country bus trip. He could serve in the Military but found himself afforded no respect at home. Black skin was reviled. Black men were considered powerless, unworthy of respect.

Dr. King showed great courage in facing the powers of the day, despite threats to his person. There was another voice of the day, strong, Militant, frightening because Malcomn X more than hinted at returning violence with violence. The fact that there was one leader offering the hand of peace, and the other letting it be known he did not decry force, may have been good for the movement. The good cop, the bad cop can be effective. Both men were expressions of African men. They reflelcted two sides of t he same nature. Both men, so different in approach, were assassinated. Their power, their effectiveness were considered dangerous.

President Obama openly embraces the influence of Dr. King. The Bible he used for his swearing in was The King Family Bible.Yet, African Americans have never pretended to ignore the positive input of other cultures and personalities. President Obama finds inspiration in the life and work of Abraham Lincoln, a fact he does not keep secret. The path of Lincoln, like that of King and Malcomn X also lead to assassination. When a leader in or out of the Government has made inroads to shakeup the status quo, sends a tremor through the comfort zone of powerful people, and sometimes, even the powerless, they take a risk.

From the day Barrack Obama announced his bid for the presidency he showed that he is a man of courage. As a warrior, I think of this, every time he steps out before the public. It is obvious that he is a man of faith, focused and trusting, and so the smile stays fixed on his face and he maintains his calm.

This is where the American Mind has grown. Barrack Obama is an African American, despite his mixed birth. Until very recently a court upheld the 1/32 rule. If a person contained only that minute about of black blood they were considered legally black. Regardless of that, the American majority voted him to the office of president, not once but twice, The fact that this happened is a testiment to the people and the man, himself. They were able to see beyond his skin to the person within, and the president was able to demonstrate his unique qualities as a person. Although none of us were here for all the presidents, all African Americans accepted the legitimacy of the 43 presidents who came before, and none of them were black. What we have seen and are seeing is that our countrymen have shown they can accept a duly elected leader of another background, and take it in stride. That is a great leap of consciousness. There is hope for greater change.

Obstensibly, a president represents his country and its people. How he carries himself reflects on all of us. Congratulations Mr. President. I'm glad you're walking with swagger but I am even more elated that you are on fire. My friend Elderidge Cleaver wrote, "Soul On Fire." I wonder if he saw you coming.


Comments are closed.