1.19.2009

Barack Obama and Thoughts of Finding New Hope: We, too, Have a Dream

Driving home today I caught the mid-end of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech playing on NPR. We've all heard it, and most likely know what it is within a few words, but today I let it play and continued on my drive, ingesting his words, his tone, his confidence in his people and his nation. I thought about the time at which the speech was delivered; August of 1963, when America was in the thick of racial suffrage and lurching in to political and social unrest. In only a few months, that America would lose their President; soon after they'd find themselves drafted in to a war that separated their nation for a decade and changed the path of democracy forever. That America was at a crossroads, much like the America of today.

Dr. King stood there, on Washington Mall, not untouched by the trials and tribulations of their time. He was no saint; but rather, a man with a dream and a vision of hope. He knew that the future didn't lie in his hands only, or the hands of his President or Government alone , but those of the hundreds of thousands of citizens before him. He shared his dream as only that: a dream; one that was extraordinary and awesome and incredible. He had the hope to believe that those people united could stand against the tests of their time and the injustice of their system to bring change from the bottom. He sought to inspire, to engage, and to light the match of creative ambition on every person of every color and every walk of life.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.


Every four years Dr. King's birthday is celebrated at the eve of a new American President. This year we observe on the precipice of change and history; a man of mixed race will take the Oath of Office. He is clamored as the Answer. But he alone is not. Tomorrow, January 20th, 2009, Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States. He will be nothing less, and nothing more. He will succeed and he will fail. His future is unwritten, or if you so believe, written, but unknown; only time and trial will create the President and man he'll become. But his message, his creed, rings together in harmony with those great words spoken by Dr. King. Hope. Change. Faith. Dream. Believe. Though the context is different, the meaning is the same.

I've seen the t-shirts, the stickers, buttons, minted coins and cakes. I've heard the praises sung and the books flying off the shelves. But what I've noticed the most are the smiles. The laughter. The giddy, childlike glee that is stuck to the world as we await this new President. The euphoria surrounding us as we wait is hope that this man is what we believe him to be, and the faith that he's the change we've been dreaming of. The leader we want and need so desperately. America is in love with hope, change, faith, dreams and belief.

And that love is contagious. Our neighbors and friends overseas have become twitterpated as well, finding hope that this man will finally close the door on the old and burst through the new. The world is in love with hope, change, faith, dreams and belief.

After the pain, anger and injustice of these past eight years, this country, this world stands with hands clasped in the waiting. And we know, in our heart of hearts, that the flight is just beginning. We know this man will lead us but he will not be without fault. But right here, right now, we're choosing to say we have a dream. A dream that one day, great words will mean great actions. That progressive action and democracy aren't just catch prases but outcomes. That change is possible and trust can exist between our selves and our leaders. That freedom and justice can be for all.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.


So much pessimism has surfaced - most, as a result of the criminal acts of our current president, the untruthful promises of many before him. The pundits and talking heads say Barack Obama will let us all down and become just another in the long line of political hoo has. "This man is a celebrity, not a leader. He's a spectacle to be worn."

And to that I say, we have a dream. A dream that one day, great words will mean great actions. That progressive action and democracy aren't just catch prases but outcomes. That change is possible and trust can exist between our selves and our leaders. That freedom and justice can be for all.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

Because we refuse to believe that what was will always be. We refuse to accept the corrupt nature of times past. We refuse to fall victim to the pessimism, anger, indifference and inaction that has plagued the citizens of this country. We refuse to be silent and accept. We refuse to use violence and destruction in our journey.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

I have a dream that one day, our country will again be great in the eyes of the world, not for our material possessions, but for our integrity. That I can trust my President to make the best decisions for my safety and my happiness. That my children will grow up educated and stimulated and prepared for success. That hate, fear and intolerence will no longer be staples of the American Culture.

And I'm choosing to believe in hope with the optimism and giddiness of a child. And I'm not the only one.




Thank you, Barack Obama. And welcome to the jungle.

1 people's thoughts:

manateelotti January 20, 2009 at 4:24 PM  

So well said. I haven't been able to watch the entire inauguration since it hasn't been uploaded yet but I have seen his speech and seen the cut together version on German TV.

If there is one thing i have the most faith in it is that like no other nation Americans express enthusiasm. I feel like it's not about what Obama does but more about the way he affects the general population and how he has already given America hope.
I am so tired of fear and the constant need for surveillance and security. The thing that will be best is just having HOPE.

So yeah. I am very touched and keep feeling more like an American by the day. ;)


P.S. I just have my blog for Ali and fanfiction these days. ;)

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