Yesterday, I watched Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger (and, apparently, Seeger’s grandson) singing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and wondered from the joyous look on Seeger’s face how long this man, now in his middle or upper 80s, had waited for this miracle, the accession of a man of color to the office of President.
It was a long, long time. I’m almost 65–a kid in Seeger-years–and all the same I’m shocked that he arrived. I watched the preliminaries and swearing-in in the Raritan Valley CC conference center, almost everyone in there was tense and nervous. Again, the same issue: What If. I remembered a line from The Godfather, that if you’re willing to give yourself up you can kill anyone. Some people thought Cheney’s wheelchair was a dangerous ruse, not only because he would not stand up for a Black man, but because what could the wheelchair concealed.
Thus paranoids are made. It’s sad that this is the state of America in 2009, but there it was.
When he took the oath, even as he stumbled from a second of nerves, it was humanizing and moving. And a bit funny.
And then it was.
Barack had gotten to the mountain that Martin Luther King had seen forty years before. Oh, it’s not over. But the start today was a hell of a lot more than a start.
Obama was correct. We are in a fearful time in our history, the worst since the Great Depression. We cannot give up,though sometimes the temptation is to do so. We can’t.
By the way. There wasn’t a dry eye in the Conference Center. Mine included. I, the cynic, finally lost it. I saw history that I had not seen in almost 50 years. I saw a man who believed his message and in the message of hope.