The news commentator moved his hands across a digitized map pointing to different countries, and like a magician pulling colorful scarves from a hat, made a photograph appear with local celebrants enjoying their Obama moment. It was as if spores from a sea of dandelions had taken flight from the Washington Mall, spreading the Nation's joy to distant gardens, among the estimated two million people who had come to witness the moment, it would be safe to say that every nation had an emissary. From young babies to centenarians, mankind witnessed the dawning of a new day. Anointed pundits, caught in the blinding glare of the moment, were tongue-tied in their effort to explain what they were seeing for an instant.
Strife took a holiday.
The magic of technology made Barack Obama's image familiar to the billions around the world, but one doesn't have to leave home to find him. He represents something inside all of us, something not defined by color or ethnicity. We look at Obama and see a fleeting reflection of better selves, or as Beyonce said, "He makes me want to be a better person." This is his gift, but his success depends on how hard we are willing to work and sacrifice to be that person that we, more often than not, keep under wraps. That is the reason he constantly reminds us that this is about us and not about him... Yes we can! Yes we will! Yes we did!
The spark that ignited the euphoria felt around the world is home grown, and will not stay afloat on good intentions. We have to shrug off our frustrations and get on with the work of nurturing our hopes and dreams. This must become our ritual. And like the swearing in of our 44th president, we must do it over and over again until we get it right.
A few days before the inauguration my wife arrived home a few hours earlier than usual. "They let me go today." She had been driving around for a good part of the day trying to get used to the idea that we had become the "they" that we read about and see portrayed on the evening news. It was not the end of the world, but seismic to our economic topography.
This past Tuesday we joined with a few friends and several hundred strangers at African American museum in Los Angeles to celebrate the transition. In what the New York Times described as a "somber address" our new President rallied us to the Herculean task that lies ahead. We were all caught up in the moment. Tomorrow is not just another day, but a new day. More than ever, I now realize that the ritual is as important as the moment.