From President Obama's inaugural speech:
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."
Who said that? When?
The Boss brought a TV into the office and granted us permission to cease operations and watch the Presidential inauguration. There were about thirty of us, men and women, black and white, aged 20 to 70, all gathered around a desk in the middle of the converted school-house auditorium that serves as our office.
The music was great. The oath was a little clumsy, but the speech was wonderful, I love having a President who can weave a coherent narrative out of history's threads.
I'm proud to have a Smart President. There is an entire generation growing up that doesn't know what that feels like-today's 9th-graders don't know anything but a "post 9/11" world.
It's difficult to say which sight was more moving: the TV proceedings or the actual tears I witnessed in the office.
No, it's not difficult. Most of my co-workers are black and many of them are old enough to remember Jim Crow and what "separate but equal" really means...there were tears of joy in eyes around the office and that joy was contagious. I can't pretend I understand what they were feeling, but I could tell it was powerful, and in a good way.
After the break, work resumed as usual, but morale was excellent. We had a "pot-luck" luncheon and I enjoyed a fresh cup of coffee from our brand-new coffeepot. Obama invoked images of Valley Forge in his speech- at least we have food and shelter.
The next time I complain about our fax machine, I'll remember that George Washington's Continental Army didn't have a working fax machine either- hell, many of them didn't have shoes- and they somehow managed to defeat England and let our Founders establish America and write the Constitution, which led to our office existing- our operation is written into the Constitution itself, :
Article 1, Section 2: "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."
Article 1, Sec 2 was slightly modified by the 14th Amendment. Black fractions became whole humans in 1868, untaxed Indians excluded.
(If you think the previous sentence is contorted, you should read the 14th amendment itself. Whew.)
It's ironic to note that the school in which our office is housed was built in 1917 and was legally "Whites Only" until 1962 and remained primarily a "White" school until it closed it's doors in 1979. Many of my staff would have been forbidden to attend classes there as children.
Me, I'm just happy to have a Smart Prez. The rest is up to us- we will, as it has been said, get the leadership we deserve.
What do we deserve?