Looking forward to Obama's inauguration. It will truly be a historic day, perhaps even more meaningful than 2008 because the American people rejected a barrage of hate messages directed at Obama from the extreme right--to re-elect him. We have come a long way since 1963, but the struggle for freedom and justice continues.
We see negativity, even hate on the internet sometimes, as well as face-to-face--sometimes expressed subtly, sometimes in-your-face. How we respond to such message must be dictated by the words of Gandhi: "Be the change you seek in the world." If we allow the hate to get inside us and distort our personalities, then we are becoming part of the problem rather than the solution.
There are many things we can do on a personal level to make a difference: Turn away from our own aggressive tendencies (we all have them) and our tendency to bad mouth others, for example. Avoid dealing with hurt by dumping anger on others. Express our creativity and share it with others. Stand up for those who are subject to verbal or physical assault. Take good care of our health. Deal with personal business in a responsible way. Resist materialist tendencies in our culture. For example...
I don't plan to watch the inauguration hoopla on T.V, but I will definitely listen to Obama's speech. He is probably the greatest political speech maker of our time. His creativity, and intelligence, integrity and authenticity and courage are inspiring.
I do not agree with every position Obama has taken--for example, on the death penalty--but the vast majority of the positions he takes are ones I subscribe to. I think we will look back on his two terms and will regard him as a uniting figure in our history. I am just glad I did not stay on the sideline, politically, in the past four years, and also glad that I spoke out against detainee abuse in the 90s. And glad I participated in the civil rights movement during the sixties. Of course, I could have done much more, and others sacrificed a great deal more, including their lives. But I did what I could, at the time. I realize that it is important for me to take care of myself mentally and physically, and to take good care of personal business, because in doing so I realize that I will have much more to give to those around me and to my country.
Our lives are short, but what we do or fail to do does have an impact that extends into the future. It may be a ripple on the water, but it does constitute a ripple. And the actions of the many constitutes a wave. Again I would stress, for good or ill.
"Act as if everything you do matters." (William James)