Despite being laid off yesterday, it was still a good day. Barack Obama became President, and he ushered in such an intense wave of hope and possibility that I was on the verge of tears all day—and it had nothing to do with losing my job. Sure, I’m nervous about that, but I know I’ll find something infinitely better than what I had. Obama’s call to service really resonates with me; I want to find a local organization to donate time to. Beach cleanup or park cleanup or wildlife volunteering or literacy volunteering. Not sure what yet.
My mom’s not doing well, and I came home early from my trip to L.A. in case I have to head north soon. I’m sad she didn’t see the Inauguration.
So much change right now. Some really welcome, some not, but in the words of our new President: “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met. … On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear…”
And here are some of my other favorite parts of the incredible speech he gave yesterday:
“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”
“To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” [emphasis mine]
“As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.”
“For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.”