20 January 2009
I have a $25 small black & white TV that I keep in my office. I bought it at the HQs store probably 10 years ago. More than anything I was drawn to it because it cost $25 dollars; I was amused that I could buy a TV set for $25.
You get what you pay for, but for days like yesterday, it provided what I needed. The reception in the building is poor and it was network TV, but to keep up with what was happening it did the job. Although every time I moved I had to readjust the antenna, remember those days? We were able to watch much of the day on our corporate television system on our PCs. So I would bounce between the PC and my portable TV through the day. I intended to write what I thought about the day last night, but by the time I got home I was emotionally drained.
I knew how excited my friends were who were making the trip to D.C. You could see the excitement in the crowds on the mall in the early morning. It reminded me of the week the Native American museum was opened on the mall in Washington. I was fortune to be in Washington, D.C. that week. I was honored to be able to go the mall several times for different events around my business obligations. The city was full of Native Americans who never thought there would be a day they would be honored. Many were staying at my hotel in Arlington, Va. It was exciting to be among the attendees and talk with them about the museum and what it meant to them. On opening day there was parade and many were wearing native clothing. I have to admit it took a little courage as one of the few Anglos to step into an elevator full of Native Americans dressed in native clothing including face paint and feather headdresses. What I saw on TV yesterday reminded of the pride and excitement I felt that week.
For myself, from the opening prayer to the benediction, my heart strings were tugged by each speaker. I would hear a phrase and feel a tug on my heart. I would take a breath. Before I could recover, another touching phrase would be uttered and the cycle would start again. Maybe it was so hard because it has been so long since I have heard those sounds of hope voiced yesterday.
I was surprised to hear and read the critical comments that have been spoken about the ceremony. It makes me wonder what speeches they were listening to, or were they listening at all? I also wondered if just like the different rendition ‘My Country Tis of Thee’, we were hearing a different voice for the Inaugural Speech.
I read all the text of the speeches again this evening, and found the same emotions overwhelming me. My yesterday was real. I was reminded of our great past and encouraged to believe in the potential for our greatness in the future. The rhetoric not only made me feel, it made me think.
As much as I hate to admit it, I had to wonder about what the difference would there have been if it had been a woman taking the oath for the oval office. Throughout the afternoon, those thoughts were with me. I have to say that while it would have been a great thing, I don’t believe it would have had the same impact as what we saw yesterday. Not just here in America, but around the world. I hope you can understand how difficult that is for me to say. I told a friend of mine today that twenty years ago I would not have been able to say it. Back then, I was heartbroken when I learned how the women that worked as early abolitionists were turned away as voting delegates from the World’s First Anti-slavery Convention. They came back to fight for their own freedom to vote. Although there are many barriers we have crossed and many we still have in front of us, as women we do have avenues for power and recognition.
All I can say is that yesterday, I was reminded that anything can happen in America. And our collective greatness will require you and me taking part.
What a thrill it would have been to be there and chime in with Amen and Amen and Amen!