As I write this I have tears streaming down my face. I am watching the repeat of "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration" on HBO.com - unfortunately from my sick bed. (Still at 100+ - ugh.) I am crying because my favorite band in the world just started singing one of my favorite songs.
U2 - In the Name of Love.
I couldn't stop the tears after the first strands of the song. I knew exactly what was coming and why this band from Ireland had written the tribute to a black man (because back in the 60s he was black, not African American) who did so much to change our great nation with the only thing he had - his voice. This band, U2, has also done much to change the world - not just their part of it - by using their voices. And the President-Elect? Well, he (and his speech writers) have done so as well.
It is an amazing time to be near Washington. I say near, because I can't get down there even though it is just about 30 minutes away. A rather nasty bout of the flu and a 2 year old with an ear infection are the barriers we just cannot cross. The energy I feel, that I felt through the computer, that I feel when I talk to people or email them or read their blogs is palpable.
For the first time in a very long time I can actually feel Change and Hope come to town. 1993 was the first time, and yet that time was disappointing after the madness of the Inauguration itself wore off. Please don't get me wrong. I think that Clinton was a great president. I just don't think he faced what we do today.
In 1993 the only thing that really needed changing was the administration to put someone into office who actually knew what the price of a gallon of milk was. Today, we need so much more.
It is not overstating things to compare the challenges Barak Obama faces with the challenges faced by FDR - our first disabled president who was able to hide his disability while in public. Yet, it was that disability that most probably brought the plight of those in search of work and homes and even a crust of bread a little closer to home for him.
Mr. Obama will not be able to hide his differences from the world, nor, do I think, he wants to. It is those differences that allow him to say to ever American "We are one." It is the upbringing he received - a child of two countries, two races, living on an island being raised by his grandmother - that allow him to speak to anyone facing any of those same difficulties and say "Together, yes we can." It is his ability to straddle the two generations that have risen to the top of the hill - Baby Boomer and Gen X - and yet play with the toys of Gen Y that make this man one of all generations.
And yet, he cannot do it alone by any stretch of the imagination. And if we Americans think we can administer the oath of office through a Justice, watch a parade and some lovely balls go by then quickly turn our backs on the work that needs to be done to undo what eight plus years of neglect have turned our country and economy into? Boy, do we need a real live wake-up call.
The process needs to be changed. And for those of you not familiar with process management - People are the Process.
So, what do we do? Step up. Take a moment to think about what you want to change and how you want to be involved in changing it and do it. Don't wait to be asked - do the asking. If you have an idea that is bigger than you - float it up to the next level. Maybe that's the school board, or the city council or the DNC or the GOP. I don't know. What I do know is that change only occurs when those people with the ideas for change actually voice them.
So, come to the "City of Bright Lights" (U2 again) and let's make sure "This Land was Made BY You and Me". (Kinda Pete Seeger.)