Hopeful tears rolled down my British and my wife’s Fijian cheeks like streams that suddenly appears across a dried up desert after an unexpected rainfall.
I know our tears were mere drops in the ocean of the collective joyous tears shed not just in the US but around the world on January 20th, 2009.
I don’t know if you’ve ever visited the desert in the springtime; where no sign of life was evident, suddenly becomes filled with breathing spectrum of existence. Within a very short time shoots sprout, flowers bloom and animals graze. What was once lifeless suddenly flourishes.
As I watched the Inauguration of Barack Obama, the 44th President of USA, I saw the shoots of faith burst through in what has been a desert of desperation. Even though it will take a while for flowers to bloom in the global political climate and the economy of the US, make no mistake, Barack Obama had inspired a stream that has awakened a spirit of greatness that had laid dormant for far too long.
Barack Obama did not and does not claim to be a wizard who can wave a magic wand and fix everything. In his Inaugural speech, he made it clear that for dreams to come true there is work needed and that part of that work is about being inclusive rather than exclusive.
Barack Obama is, as he hinted at in his speech, the manifestation of Martin Luther King Jr’s civil rights dream.
America may have been, and may still be the leader of the free world but we pray it truly becomes once again the example of what freedom means.
When I was a boy, I wanted to be American. In America, I saw a country where it was truly possible to become more than the stature of your birth place. Now as a man in his 50’s, having traveled to many places around the world, gotten some level of understanding that “our way” is not “the way“.
I have seen many political leaders from many different nations say one thing and do another. My belief in the inherent beauty in people has grown and sadly so has my cynical view about the words of politicians.
However, as Barack Obama was sworn in, I heard the whisper of my boyhood dream awaken. The dream that made me want to be a ‘yank’ because America can become the land of the free and the brave…again. As strange as it might have seemed to some, I always seemed and felt more American than British. That was a day where I can embrace with pride the American part of my heart.
Like this nation of the United States of America, I personally know what it feels like to be beaten down, I know what it feels like to feel defeated, I also know how much in those times I needed something to believe in.
Watching the crowd of millions cheer, I prayed that Barack Obama can steer the faith of the American people to once again believe in…
“a government of the people for the people”.
I wish you, Americans and by that I do not just mean people born in the US, I mean those who believe in real freedom, the courage to hold true to what it means to live a life where your heart, your mind, your words, and your actions are integral to the spirit of who you really are.
I believe that today could possibly be the inauguration of the American people themselves…
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