The Family Think Tank

My feeling of hope, good, and that something magical just happened have not diminished in the days since the inauguration.  In that vein I’d like to post here a couple of e-mails I, and the rest of my family, received from one of my uncles, and then a response written back to him by one of my aunts.  They are posted down below the next paragraph.  Take a gander now if you like.  I love you guys.

NOTE:  I’d like to say something briefly to all those I know and love who might be a bit less than enthusiastic about this current political turn of events… and you know I’m a positive girl, so bear with me.  I tend to see the good in things, the upside, the sunshine.  I’m also quite the liberal, as you all know.  And I have some people in my life who are, shall we say, in almost direct opposition to my political beliefs.  And you know what… that’s OK.  And in fact, it’s a good thing (yeah, there I go seeing the positive again).  This place we live, love, and cherish, was built on the ability of it’s citizens to have an opinion.  It was fought for and founded so all voices could be heard.  It’s our basic freedom.  Equality of voice.  So I embrace your opinion, even though I usually disagree with it, and I say… that’s alright.  It’s OK for us to disagree.  You know I love you.  I know you love me.  We respect each others opinion enough not to try and change it.  We know we can’t.  We don’t talk politics much, and that’s OK too.  I’m tired, and I think many of us are, of the us and them mentality here in this country.  I’ve occasionally bought into that myself, and I’m trying to be done with it.  None of us can know what the next 100 days, or 1000 days, will bring.  We can’t know it.  We can all only move forward in the ways we can.  Do the best we can to forge a better place for ourselves and our world, in our own individual way.  I know, despite our differences, that we all hope for the same things, really.  We hope things get better.  We hope we keep our jobs, our homes, our incomes, our security, a way of life each of us has made for ourselves.  We all hope, as we do every day, and every year, that the people we love will be safe and healthy, that our children and their children (two or four legged) grow and live and are happy.  We hope to be happy.  It is our commonality.  It is the place where we all meet in the middle.  So, we don’t have to agree on how we all think we, as a country, can best get there.  But we can agree that we want to get there.  To security.  To personal peace.  To a healthier world, whatever each of us thinks that means.  To happiness.  I love my family and my friends, as a whole.  Every part of you, every one of you, to the last.    That’s all.  It’s simple.  I am filled with hope right now, and that hope is for all of us.

And now… on with the thoughts of my most eloquent uncle and aunt… they’re worth a read.

On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 5:57 PM  I am compelled to write about the events of this day……..Barak Obama today is the President of the United States of America………To me and many many millions of Americans and to hundreds of millions people around the world there is a renewed sense of hope and optimism. A sense of fairness and humanity that has been woefully absent for so many years in our leadership has now finally returned. As in the heady times of John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington I feel as do so many millions of others that anything is possible; that at long last a feeling of brotherhood, direction and true sense of caring is once again the truth of the day. I am not disillusioned by the naysayers, the doubters, the “glass is half fullers”, the “negatoids”; those who do not want a Black man, a man of hope and positiveness to succeed. I know that there would be some if not even many who would say that those who think like me are Pollyannas. And I am under no illusion that one president can really have the power to effect much in the way of positive change. But perception can be such a powerful thing……. This is not about black, brown, red, yellow or white….It is about a Man who has such faith and hope in the American experience, the American sense of hope, justice and goodness. These American ideals have been allowed to spoil, flounder, and fall fallow over these past years. Our new President has and will revive these powerful positive attributes of which our national psyche is so capable of and I believe allow us to march into the future with a sense of purpose like never before. Shame on those of you who are not willing to give this new Chief Executive a chance. He is our new leader and we must give him our support. What a boon to our country in the eyes of the rest of the world if we all could do that, and what a blow to our detractors and those who would try to destroy us. Obama’s ascendancy to the pinnacle of American power is the absolute best proof to the rest of the world that America is still the cradle of opportunity. A citizen of our country can realistically aspire to anything. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives, and what a great day indeed!!!!!……..Richard

Dear Richard, Thank you for taking the time to put yourself out there and express your feelings on this momentous occasion. I wanted to reply right away last night when I read your remarks, but thought I would take a few hours and let my thoughts settle in and settle out. I listened to the inaugural remarks of our new president four times yesterday. I couldn’t get enough. You are right. It has been a long dry spell where hope and inspiration lay inert and dormant in our national psyche. Listening to Barack Obama’s words felt like cool spring water on the parched lips of our collective thirst. I think that is what struck me about the address and the historic nature of the event in full. I have never in my lifetime witnessed the magnitude of inspiration that this man invokes. It was like John Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” speech on steroids. Men, women, and children of every hue, thinking collectively as Americans that we can do whatever we set our minds to. Finally, I am proud to be an American again. I don’t feel we have to apologize to other countries for the ineptitude and disregard for other cultures that we saw cultivated in the previous administration. We can raise our heads and say….yeah man, Obama is OUR president!! We know the tasks set before us will not be easy. Our economic issues and the conflicts around the globe……Obama made manifestly clear that there is much work to do. But it is a matter of will…..our will. All we need is a leader who can take us there with resolve and regard. With Barack Obama as our new president we are going to surprise ourselves in what we can accomplish. But you know, I don’t think we will surprise our new president. He has high expectations for us. Susie

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