Thursday, January 21, 2021

Inauguration--Beginning Anew

I watched the inauguration yesterday with great anticipation and expectation. I do not know what I expected to see, but I know that I saw it. 

I saw grace, strength and resilience on display. I saw a team, a new president and Vice President, who I believe can unite the country and plot a cogent course for the future.

I was encouraged to hear an inauguration address worthy of the day and the moment in time. A speech which recognized the divisions and differences in the country, but did not blame nor shame the opposition. 

Much of what President Biden spoke made my heart sing, and so, from the Washington Post text of the Inaugural Address, here are some of the parts which spoke to me. Note, the red annotations are from the Washington Post and I highly recommend you click on the link above and read the commentary they provided.

But the answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like you or worship the way you do, or don’t get their news from the same sources you do. We must end this uncivil war 9that pits red against blue, rural vs. urban, conservative vs. liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes, as my mom would say, just for a moment, stand in their shoes. Because here’s the thing about life: There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days when you need a hand. There are other days when we’re called to lend a hand. That’s how it has to be. That’s what we do for one another. And if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. And we can still disagree.

So here’s my message to those beyond our borders: 11America has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. And we’ll lead, not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

Folks, this is a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy and on truth, a raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these will be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is, we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the gravest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up? All of us? It’s time for boldness, for there is so much to do. And this is certain, I promise you: We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era.

I know that this was not the greatest inaugural address ever given--but, I am convinced it was the right address, given by the right person, at just the right time. And that is what really matters.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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