Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Cried

I cry easily. I cry when I'm happy and when I'm sad; I cry when I'm touched or when I'm mad. Just about the only time I don't cry is when I'm frightened. Then, I wait until after the fear evaporates to shed the tears.

This morning at 11:30, I sat in my car and cried as I listened to President Obama's inaugural speech. I'd left our central office to drive across campus just as he finished taking the oath of office.

I arrived at my destination about midway through the speech and, unwilling to leave my car, sat there for another twenty minutes to listen. I began to cry at this point:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
The past eight years have been painful for me as a Texan, as a Republican, and as an American. I did not vote for GWB for governor of Texas and did not vote for him for president of the United States. Repeatedly during his presidency, I was reminded of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who used the letter of the law to justify what they did or did not do. As we learned of Abu Ghraib, of Guantanemo, of the wiretapping of U.S. citizens and of the rendition--outsourcing--of non-citizens to torture overseas, I found myself--for the first time in my life--ashamed to be an American.

This past November, my pride in my fellow citizen for renouncing the policies of the past eight years knew no bounds.

And today--listening to our new president--I cried. In the words of Gerald Ford following another scandal, I thought "our long national nightmare is over."

Listen again to President Obama's words:
Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less . . . As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.
May it ever be so.

5 comments:

Gina Black said...

This is the part that got me crying:

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.


And then I sniffed my way through the rest of it.

David Roth said...

Amen, and Amen!

Mike Keyton said...

A great speech. I hope the sentiment takes root - on both sides of the pond

Minks said...

I thought that this was important enough to replay on the internet for my 7 year old daughter and 5 year old son. I don't think they understood the impact of it but hopefully they will look back and remember when they can truly understand. The new president has given me hope for a better life for my children. My daughter was originally for McCain/Palin basically because she did not really understand the issues and Palin was a girl. Let's face it, you really don't want to explain most of the issues to a 7 year old. However, since they did not win and there has not been a woman in charge, her new ambition is to become the first woman president. My five year old son has always been an Obama follower. I don't know if it is because Obama is a boy or because his name is so much fun to say, but I am pleased as a parent that race never entered their minds. I was also pretty emotional however working among Bush followers and Republicans I had to wait until I got home to see the oath and speech on the internet. The sun seems to be brighter since he took office and I have so much hope for our country now.

Minks

Minks said...

I thought that this was important enough to replay on the internet for my 7 year old daughter and 5 year old son. I don't think they understood the impact of it but hopefully they will look back and remember when they can truly understand. The new president has given me hope for a better life for my children. My daughter was originally for McCain/Palin basically because she did not really understand the issues and Palin was a girl. Let's face it, you really don't want to explain most of the issues to a 7 year old. However, since they did not win and there has not been a woman in charge, her new ambition is to become the first woman president. My five year old son has always been an Obama follower. I don't know if it is because Obama is a boy or because his name is so much fun to say, but I am pleased as a parent that race never entered their minds. I was also pretty emotional however working among Bush followers and Republicans I had to wait until I got home to see the oath and speech on the internet. The sun seems to be brighter since he took office and I have so much hope for our country now.

Minks