Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Time to Sink or Swim

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
--President Barack Obama

When John McCain chose Sarah Palin to run with him on the Republican ticket, I believed that he would be our next president. A crashing economy prevented that. So, today, I watched Barack Hussein Obama be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, and I heard him give a magnificent speech that crystallized the hopes of people throughout America and the world that a politics beyond politics and a new way of seeing and living in this world can lift us from the depths to which we've fallen and to the heights of which we dream our noblest dreams.

I'm not naive enough to believe that one man alone can lift us up, even if he is the president of the United States. Nor do I believe that one man can fully inspire all of us to work together to do the lifting. No, long after the words of Obama's stirring speech and all the pomp and circumstance of his inauguration have faded into history, we must look to ourselves and each other for the determination to change the way things are and for the strength to follow through day by day and hour by hour with that determination.

As President Obama made very clear in his address, perilous and difficult times lie ahead for the world, for this nation, and for us as families and individuals. The way I see it, we stand on barren ground decimated by fear, hatred, ignorance, and selfishness, and the promised land lies on the other side of a river. We must jump into the water and swim to the other side of the river to make it to a better place. We have no guarantee that we won't drown in our attempt, but we can be sure that if we don't make the effort, we will collectively if not individually perish from physical, moral, and spiritual stagnation and starvation.

Certainly, this is how I view my own situation. I've spent most of my adult life hiding from the world and fearing to take chances and fail. But now I see that I must leap into the water and either sink in resignation or summon all my strength and skill to swim to the other side of the river. If I do not try like I have never tried before, I will surely fail, and I don't wish to fail.

So, just as Obama's presidency begins in earnest tomorrow, so does my transformation in every aspect of my life as I exercise the full power of my own "presidency" over myself and everything I say and do from that point on.

Does this sound ambitious? No more than President Obama's speech.


Tom said...

A great speech by Obama, I think.

I think you may have underestimated(and still be underestimating)Obama's power.

McCain was transparently doing whatever hoped to further his ambitions, and America was tired of that. Obama was continually inspiring. Palin was always going to be another anchor that weighed MCain down. Obama was always in the right place to bring people together.

As for you, my friend. Your status is not "all or nothing," sink or swim. The right circumstance just needs to come along, then you must only see it and scoop it up.

Nagarjuna said...

I believe that the American public made the right choice, but I still doubt that they would have made it if not for the economic crisis that became too obvious to ignore just before the election.

As for my status, if I do not act with what Obama calls the "fierce urgency of now," I can easily see myself losing everything that's precious to me, and I want to do everything I can before that happens to make sure it doesn't happen.