I just finished watching Barack Obama’s inauguration speech, and all I have to say is, “Wow.”
I think I just watched history. I can only imagine that John Kennedy moved people in this way, but I have never seen it in my lifetime. It was surreal to see millions braving the cold, standing on the Mall, who just wanted to be a part if it. It was surreal seeing people moved to tears.
I watched the swearing in and the speech at work, which was a little surreal too. As most of you know, I work for a Catholic organization, so I have tempered my speech in support of Barack Obama at the office. Although I really wanted to do it, I ultimately decided against putting an Obama/Biden sticker on my rockin’ minivan. Many at the “office” do not share my views, although I have been surprised to find out that some do.
When I flew to Baltimore with the nuns early last year, our Mother Superior asked me who I thought the new President would be. I wanted to say that I hoped it would be Barack Obama, but I think instead I stammered something like, “Uh, I’m not sure. It will be interesting to see how things turn out.”
Then she said, “I think it’s going to be Obama.” She continued that, as a Catholic, she knew she should vote for the Republican, pro-life candidate, but that she didn’t know if she could bring herself to do so because she did not support the Iraq war. Then she said that she probably just would not vote this year.
I could tell the other Sister with us was mortified. She said, “Mother, he’s a Muslim!”
Mother said, “Oh Sister, he is not!”
That was the end to the conversation on the plane. When we landed at the Baltimore airport and Mother went to the restroom, the other Sister leaned over to me and whispered, “Can you believe that business about Obama!? I can’t believe she said all that!”
I just smiled, nodded, and kept my mouth shut.
Things aren’t so great in this country right now. We are in a war in Iraq that we never should have been in. We’re in a war in Afghanistan that we can never win when all of our resources are being diverted to Iraq. The economy sucks. Christian and I have been lucky in that we are still OK financially (though I did throw up in my mouth a little when I saw that the kids’ college funds are down 36% (I can’t even bring myself to look at our retirement accounts)), but it’s stressful. I work in fundraising, and donations are down. What happens if they continue to fall? I don’t think I would get laid off, but I worry about it. Christian’s company continues to do well, but he’s only been there a year. What if they have to make cuts and he’s the “low man on the totum pole”? And sure, we could probably both find new jobs eventually, but what would we do about health insurance in the meantime? I can’t even imagine what COBRA or private insurance would cost for a family of five. (shudder)
But today I am hopeful. I am not naive and I know that Obama is not a miracle worker. I also know things aren’t going to change tomorrow (as Jon Stewart said last night, “Obama’s going to fix it, but you’ve gotta give the guy a week.”).
Today I am hopeful.