While watching the celebrations in the run up to this Tuesday's inauguration, I was struck by the realization that we are seeing an America George Bush and Dick Cheney and all their assorted culprits did not want us to see. Their America gave comfort to its enemies and struck fear in its friends. This Tuesday, the America seen by the world will be the complete opposite. It will be renewed.
In the renewed America, Lincoln, Jefferson and the country's founders are resurrected as more than striated, heavy-lidded profiles on currency; they will become once again vital participants in a daily conversation, a conversation which extends beyond their iconic memorials and once again makes their ideas and ideals practical and accessible to the people of this nation.
In the renewed America, the enthusiasm for our new president is authentic, outright joy, a torrent of emotion dammed by years of thuggery and arrogance that marked the Bush Administration's fraudulent reign.
Just today in a renewed America, the waters on the Great Mall were still and solid as a result of the chilling Winter winds, but also still and solid as if in anticipation of the millions of feet it would need to support, the feet of the respectful, the moved, the finally mattering masses who see in Obama a brother, a father, a friend in a high place who just might acknowledge their existence in way that doesn't have to put money in their pocket but hope in their heart, that doesn't have to bribe, threaten and cajole people to participate, but rather who will gather this Tuesday willingly, lovingly.
In a renewed America, it is the beginning of the end of the demonization of all we have always known to be good--thrift, service, wisdom, compassion -- and the lauding of all we've known to be bad -- aggression, greed, deception, secrecy, hegemony.
And with America renewed, such is the world's collective sigh of relief which gives way to a cheer of exaltation. The Bush Time is well gone, though there is much to clean up after the damage it inflicted; damage which dwarfs that inflicted by Katrina and Iraq and the thousand black holes of despair snuffing out the thousand points of light.
In our nation's still young but storied existence there have been many nightmares endured, some self-inflicted, others visited upon us. We now awaken refreshed and renewed, ready once again to start the day.
And when President Barack Obama is faced with his crucible -- and he will, surely -- we will now fully understand and embrace the reason for facing it with him. For in a renewed America, we will no longer be resentful but grateful, united as a nation of individuals with a stake in it's future, for we will have faced our own crucible in the form of the Bush Administration and finally, humbly triumphed.
On Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 we will become America, Renewed.
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