If you have watched or read any news releases in the past two months you heard of war, plummeting stocks, incredible budget deficits, and rising unemployment. Yesterday was different; it was a day of hope. The inauguration of President Barack Obama was a day young and old will never forget.
Approximately 45 years after the passing of the Civil Rights Act, the United States of America has its first black President. To put this into perspective, according to the Federal Communications Commission, in 1946, Peter Goldmark presented his color television system to the FCC. America has had color television longer than “justice for all.” Yesterday, millions loyally stood for hours in freezing temperatures to witness President Obama take the oath for office. The timeless words of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” resonated in the background as our Nation’s Mall was once again filled with millions from around this nation and the world.
The inauguration of President Obama was a milestone for America and the rest of the world, it was also filled with hope and inspiration for many. Hope for the older generations that America’s chapter of racial discrimination, which included church bombings, Jim Crow laws and the lynching of thousands of innocents, has begun to close. It was inspiration for young students of color who dream of being a leader for others by possibly being the first in their family to graduate high school or obtain a college degree.
In President Obama’s Inaugural address he proclaimed, “The challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America, they will be met.”
I believe in our President, this country and the world. With two wars, rising unemployment, a failing stock market, rising budget deficits and a healthcare and social security system on the brink of collapse, it is easy to have an apocalyptic attitude. To be honest, I too have been saddened by all of the current events and at times have been negative.
Watching the inauguration and reflecting on the lessons I have learned from my family and education, I’ve had a change of heart and spirit. Yesterday I was inspired. I see all of the issues that face this country and the world not as an evil but an opportunity. An opportunity for us, ordinary people, to come together and live a life of change; to put aside petty differences and understand that we are all on this planet together. What we say and do effects everyone.
If we are going to ask our public officials to be accountable for their actions, we must first look in the mirror and take the time to reflect on how we can help others in this country and around the world. We cannot change the world by ourselves, but we can help. It can be something as small as picking up a piece of trash off the ground on your way to class or recycling this paper after you have finished reading it, and together these small actions can make a significant difference.
President Obama, Congress, and the rest of America’s officials cannot improve things by themselves; they need our help. America has always been a country “by the people, for the people,” so it is time that we stand up as responsible citizens and help each other. By standing up and helping each other, we as a society can overcome our mountainous problems and help create a more perfect community, country and world for future generations.