Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States.
His is an amazing American story. He is the first African American president in the country's history. His political platform was simple. Change.
He captured the imagination of the American public--old, young, black, white, northern, southern, male and female. I think he is truly divine, blessed and is the right man in the right place for these times. Chicago/Illinois politics have grounded him. He has seen the best and the worst. I don't think he could have come from a better place.
President Barack Obama's timing has been exquisite.
He has mastered the media. He used the new media's innovative technology to advance his cause; he has built the largest grassroots movement, making everybody feel included with daily personalized messages from him and Michelle. He raised more money than any other politician ever with these methods. His historical moment is perfect.
As we watched the swearing in you couldn't help but recall King and the March on Washington when he spoke about his dream. The Civil Rights leader talked about America's racial divide and the documents recorded by America's fathers that weren't parallel to the American creed. You couldn't help but think of King's last public speech where he famously said, "We will get to the mountain top, I might not get there with you, but we will get to the mountain top," before he was fatally shot. He was full of hope but recognized danger.
Had Dr. King lived, he would have celebrated his 80th birthday just five days before the inauguration. I wonder what role he would have played during the swearing in.
For the past two years, we have heard about change. And now, here we are.
In social scientific terms it takes about one to three years for an individual to change. It takes about 10 to 20 years for organizations to change, and it takes 35 to 50 years for a society to change. We are right on time for real, systemic American change to take place. Change is not new; it's old hat.
The Civil Rights Movement, the historical forerunner to the Obama win, was about social change. The change was about full, participatory citizenship for African Americans. The change came about with resistance and push and pull, sit-ins, boycotts, marches and other civil disobedience measures, but the social dynamics brought forth significant change. People sat where they had not been allowed to sit before. People began to attend the same schools. People began to live next door to each other. People began to vote. The process changed.
I hear so many saying they never thought this day would come forth.
We have been working for it. We have been preparing.
Barack Obama came forth. Strong, sensitive, bi-racial, he uniquely understood race in America from both perspectives. He wanted a life of public service. His mother taught him to aim high. His grandmother taught him to be practical. His father--not steeped in American psychological, cultural and racial drawback--taught him that he could rule. These psychological values are talked about but hard to practice in your psyche.
President Obama is one of the most confident individuals I've ever met. I never doubted him. He's determined. His life is an excellent role model that can be patterned by many. He is the dream dared. He is the dream come true. He is the realization of many. He embodies much.
He has ushered in a new historical era.
A new politic. A new wave. A new agenda. His promise is great.
We will watch him too much. We will know his every gesture. His mild, even manner will serve him well as he approaches tough challenges. We, however, should not make him a messiah, but let him be the president of the United States. We should give him room, and we should pray for him and his beautiful family.
The good mood is at an all time high. Millions were there in Washington, hoping to catch a glimpse of him in frigid weather, just to say they witnessed the moment. Television ratings soared as we celebrated in living rooms, classrooms and ballrooms across the country. We cheered. We toasted. Elders still sit in disbelief and wish those who have gone on were here to see and hear for themselves.
We remember the sacrifices.
For me, this is absolutely one of America's proudest moments ever. It is the day America changed forever. The limitations have been lifted. The die cast. One America, please come forth. We have the leadership to usher it in.
The Civil Rights leaders such as Rev. James Lowery, Ambassador Andrew Young, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, Rev. James Bevel, Rev. James Orange, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Al Sharpton, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Rev. C. T. Vivian, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dorothy Cotton, Rev. Willie Barrow, Cirilo McSween, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King and the countless others who suffered the insults and pain, who marched and were killed, thank you for ushering this moment.
Thank you for your loud voices.
Thank you for not being afraid of the controversy.
Your son steps to the center stage, to begin anew.
A new America is awakening and waiting. Happy Birthday, Brother Martin! Happy Inauguration,
And Happy Re-birth, Sister America!
And we rise.