I wasn’t going to write anything about the inauguration.
I am ever wary of sounding partisan. So let me tell you something right up front. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican either. I am an independent voter. I am unfettered by political affiliation.
But I have to say something about this upcoming Inauguration Day.
This is going to be the biggest event our Nation’s Capitol has ever seen. I grew up in the DC area and I certainly have not seen anything this big. I remember JFK’s inauguration and his funeral. I was 15 in 1968 when a quarter-million people marched on Washington and heard the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King deliver his famous address.
This is so much bigger – and not just in attendance.
This is a milestone. This marks the moment in history when The United States of America has actually become more united than it has ever been. And it feels good.
Don’t think for a moment that it is Barack Obama’s milestone. No, he IS the milestone. The achievement of this day belongs to Americans of every ethnicity and creed. Americans have proven that they have not only the power, but the WILL to change their national attitude about their country, their race, their political affiliation, and the meaning of “being American”.
Dr. King’s dream is still not complete. We all know that. It is a shame that there still exists bigotry and racial hatred in this country. But today is the day when we can stand proudly and say: the racists here are now the minority.
On a very personal level, I can’t tell you how good it feels to see the look on my dear bride’s face. Growing up as an impoverished black female in rural Alabama has given her stories that bring tears to my eyes. But today’s tears are healing medicine. It’s by no means the end of the road. But we have certainly turned a corner.
I want to leave you with this prayer by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who visited this country in 1912.
PRAYER FOR AMERICA
O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. These hearts are radiant with Thy love. These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of Thy glad-tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious. Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.
(Baha’i Prayers, p. 24)
Enjoy the festivities. And let’s resolve to work on Unity.