Lessons from the Inauguration
My favorite parts of the inaugural speech (aside from learning to actually spell in-au-gu-ra-tion) went straight to my twitter and facebook status updates: "know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy". The sum of his speech though, were clustered into two major lessons, each can be divided into different areas of practice.
Lesson One: Honor Thy Parents
When the 44th President of the United States of America mentioned the elders, the "men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom," all I could think about was: Dude, that's what I'm talking about!
We are here today, leisurely viewing our computer screens because some folks in our ancestry have gone through a lot of deal to assure our survival.
I have always been proud, and the pride has intensified since Obama came into the picture, to say that I come from a long line of wanderlusts, patriots, housewives, divorcees and villagers, because each one of them did what they could to stay alive and nurture their young so that we – you, me, our siblings and cousins across the globe – could have a shot at being born and try a hand at living.
The least we could do in honoring their efforts is to live as good and as honest as our darn asses can. Seize every day, ever opportunity, and ever cup of coffee that you can get your hands on.
No matter how dark and stormy it might get, don't falter, don't get stuck on wishful thoughts and "what if"s.
Most importantly, don't regret or be ashamed of the person that you are and want to become, because whatever our ancestors did, whether directly or not, has brought you here today.
President Obama stated his solemn vows using his full name; he said, "I, Barack Hussein Obama". His speech was as patriotic as any American should ever be, yet as filled with acknowledgement as any 2400 word speech can be.
Yes, Barack Obama is the epitome of an American Dream, Superman and idea of equality in every Founding Fathers' mind of any country or religion, but he is also the descent of the world's heritage (by encompassing Hussein in his presidential pledge, Kenyan and Muslim affiliations).
If any one of you, my brothers and sisters, wherever you may right now be, ever dare to question your cultural identity, take example in the man who has reset the barometers of "cool" in the world, and be proud for whatever mixture and affiliation you have in your blood and history.
After all, we are, said Obama, the keepers of their legacies.
Lesson Two: Just Don't Follow in Their Mistakes
So honor, respect and love thy predecessors, just don't be an idiot while you're at it. The past is just as laden with glories as much as wrongdoings. I'm not saying you should ever fear of making mistakes – by all means, mistakes are just another result of living – just don't do the mistakes your forefathers have done.
Don't justify war for freedom and humanity, because the collateral damages shames these honorable ideals that humanity lives for. Don't justify injustice, ignorance or indulgence, because merit wins all these games, no matter what the scores are. Don't slacken off, don't be lazy, don't ever neglect your responsibilities because, as Obama had said, "greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted…"
If you ever wonder why you should bother, or why the words of yet another American icon should further infiltrate our overly-Americanized cultures all over the world, keep in mind that we're all on duty at this brief posting in the mortal world, and we suck and absorb as much greatness as we can in our journeys. So that,
"Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."
1. Original text clips of the Inauguration speech came this Electronic Village.
2. Image is powered by Inmagine.
This post parades a tent on Amazing Vision Carnival February 2009.