I’m still absorbing the impact of President Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday. It is hard for me to explain why it has made me so ecstatic. Of course it feels great to know that the candidate for whom I voted has become president, but I think there is more going on.
Many, many people have written and spoken about the historic significance of our having elected the first African-American president. They have said, and rightly so, that all Americans can now feel that race doesn’t have to be a barrier to achievement in this country, that we are collectively moving beyond our shameful past of discrimination. Watching the faces of many African-Americans who attended the inauguration, it was easy to see the joy people felt in seeing this color barrier fall. Many people interviewed said they never expected to see this in their lifetimes.
I guess, finally, what makes me so happy for us as a country is this: we are capable of surprising ourselves by being better than we thought we were. Millions upon millions of Americans have proved that the old hatreds, so much a part of our national history, can be put down.
There’s a hymn I really love, which opens like this, “A glorious day is dawning,/And o’er the waking earth/The heralds of the morning/Are springing into birth.”
What a glorious new morning. I am filled with hope.