As I watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama, I heard from friends and family, most of whom began their conversation with "how do you feel??" This morning, I contemplate this inquiry. How do I feel?
Proud: I am a child of the civil rights movement. Too young to participate but old enough to understand what was going on and what was at stake. I am the son of black American parents who constantly reinforced to us that education, spirituality, knowledge, and a civilized demeanor would take me far in this society. They told me constantly that anything is possible in America and that it was up to my generation to overturn the ills of a racist American society. And maybe, just maybe I would see the day when America would live up to its creed that all men are created equal. They told me that perhaps in my lifetime I would see America elect a black person to the presidency of the United States. My dad was a career military man, a brotha who could not do any other job in the military except cook and wait on white officers. This is one of the only jobs a black man could have in the US Military. On family vacations to segregated El Campo, Texas, he would make it a point to show me the white side of the tracks and tell me that some day, we would be able to safely walk across the tracks, own a home, own a business, run for office... Some day, son, color won't matter, you will be able to do anything.... I am proud that his encouraging words have come true...
Inspired: One can only imagine the trials and challenges Mr. Obama has faced during his journey to the Presidency. Yet, he has stood strong through the trials and emerged victorious, poised for great things through the change-making administration he has put together. The nay-sayers, the haters, the doubters, the times he was told no he can't... when in fact, yes he did. This means that I too can overcome the obstacles in front of me. When someone tells me no you can't, I just think of Mr. Obama and say Yes, I Can...
Motivated: anything is possible in America. The playing field seems level now. I am motivated to bring change in my life. I am motivated to do more in my business life. I am motivated to be a better husband. I am motivated to be a better father, er, grandfather. I am motivated to pursue my dreams as God has planted them in my consciousness.
Excited: The times are tenuous, yet exciting. The consciousness of America has changed right before my very eyes. I am excited to know that no longer do I have to look over my shoulder to see that the man is trying to hold me back. Oh sure, there are those who cling to the old ideals of white supremacy, but the election of Barack Obama has shown the world that those old racist, supremacist views are dying a death in America. I am excited to know that the man cannot hold me back... because I am the Man.....!
Inspired: The black man from humble beginnings. The brotha whose political nucleus was formed in the streets of the hood. The man who's ideals embrace an America where all have freedom, liberty and social justice. President Obama's sensitivities, political agenda, his dedication to his wife and daughters have inspired me to do more for my community and my family. Today, I am inspired to increase social and economic justice in my community, demonstrate compassion an alleviate poverty as tangible expressions of the kingdom of God.
Determined: To make my community a better place. To lift my fellow man. To be closer to God. To love my family. To be the best that I can be.
Excited: That America has made the right choice, overcoming all odds. I am excited about the change of direction this country is making.
Hopeful: That this nation will support this man. Hopeful that certain forces in our nation will do the right thing and fall behind our commander in chief.
Grateful: that Almighty God has moved to place this black man in the office of the President of the United States. I am Grateful that the descendant of slaves is at the side of the man whose African roots signal a closeness to God's earth and that closeness will result in good. Good that will return America to her previous standard of greatness. I am grateful that I have lived to see this moment. I saw the first mayor, governor, senator, congress persons, astronaut, quarterback, coach, baseball manager, golf champion and so many more firsts... Lord, I am grateful for the first black American President of the United States...
How Do I Feel? Glad to be an American!