Posted by: anniewilson | January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day America!

In a few short hours George Wallace, Adolph Hitler and countless other bigoted nutcases will be rolling over in their graves as Barrack Obama takes the Presidential Oath on the Lincoln Bible. AND…he’s doing it because American people chose him. Whites and blacks alike put this man into the White House. As luck would have it, the youth of the country, (once again, black and white.) trumped every other group that had a chance to vote.

I saw that coming early but my father wouldn’t accept it. Last spring, I told him that we were going to have a black president. He staunchly opposed my posit even after I told him that the youth would make the difference. He was there during the 60’s, he should know how our youth tends to shake things up when they set their mind to it. The Freedom Riders made more than a few local sheriffs don their KKK sheets and form meetings.

The older you are, the more you understand the phenomenal historical impact that this man will take with him to the Oval Office. And like the Civil Rights movement, it won’t be “just for Blacks”. The bravery that The Freedom Riders, the Selma marchers and Martin Luther King exhibited during peaceful demonstrations was all it took. Other groups of people took noticed and believed that they, too, could make life better for themselves. The Civil Rights movement inspired the Women’s movement. Yes, it probably would have happened sooner or later…but it DID begin soon after the Civil Rights movement began showing signs of success. And then, not a group to be left out of anything “peace” related, the Hippies also began protesting in Gandhi-like manners.

So actually, while fighting for Civil Rights for Black people, ALL of America was “freed” from old ways of thinking. MLK was right, the problem wasn’t as much racism as it was the apathy. So many people had to see the brutality and the injustice that police used against a people exercising their right to demonstrate peacefully before they became aware of the injustices transpiring in our nation. The segregation policies of the time were pretty much blatantly hypocritical to anyone who claimed to be an American. MLK was prodded on by his trust in the innate goodness and sense of fair play of the masses. Except for Wallace, not too many outright bigots were elected to high office. Can you imagine? Wallace became famous SIMPLY for closing his business rather than cater to Blacks. That one act made him Governor of this state. Luckily, we have some other states that didn’t participate in the Jim Crow laws. A large percentage of White America…once again, especially the youth…recognized the inherent ignorance that racism accompanies.

MLK was stabbed a half an inch from his heart by a crazy lady. His house was set afire with his wife and daughter inside of it. The victim of many death threats, that young man kept a congregation peaceful as their church was surrounded by bigots of all shapes and sizes. MLK had to call Robert Kennedy to get protection from the mob that was slowly turning violent. I have no doubt that sooner or later they would have set fire to that church with all of those people inside of it. Yet he never wavered. The more you learn about the man, the more awe inspiring he becomes.

Obviously, things have changed. I think it’s going to be interesting to watch, don’t you? On the news, many reporters spoke of the “electricity” in Washington. They all report an “energy” that seems to be pervading the Capital from the Lincoln Monument to Lafayette Park. You know what? Then they must have sent that energy through my TV because I felt it as well. And I was just sitting in my living room!

I guess it’s because I’m old enough to remember visiting my Southern grandparents and seeing Colored water fountains. (Much to my dismay, the colored water wasn’t…it was just as colorless as the White water fountains.) I also remember the news of the time. You couldn’t avoid it, no matter how young you were. Things were crazy. Some White people behaved in ways that totally embarrassed the rest of us. Now I hope that we can carry a lighter burden of guilt. Too much negative energy isn’t good for anybody.

So, I will be enjoying today and watching our nation continue the practice of transferring power in a peaceful fashion. Some have complained that the celebrations of the inauguration are far too extravagant. How can that be? The entire world celebrated the millennium and that was just a date. Today marks the end of a painful era in our nation’s history and the beginning of a new one. I think that deserves one heckuva party.


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