Monday, January 19, 2009

The Dream Has Been Realized

I'm going to deviate from deep theological thought for this entry. Under the circumstances of today, I think the applications to Christianity speak for themselves. This morning, my mind instantly thought of Galatians 3:26-29, which I would encourage you to read, and I think you'll see how the peices come together.

Needless to say, today we are witnessing a very pivotal moment in American history. The events of today will soon be logged in the files of our memories as a "do you remember when..." moment that grandchildren will ask us about. This is one of those defining moments that continues to carve the United States into the country it is growing to become. After all, we are relatively young in terms of the rest of the world. We are still growing into the clothes that were carefully picked out for us over 200 years ago. When many said, "Those pants are too long! Look at that shirt! It's way too big! Those shoes will never stay on!", brave people with incredible vision simple smiled and replied, "Oh, we'll grow into 'em! Just wait!"

With the inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th President of the United States, I have to admit that the pants are starting to fit much better. The shirt is starting to feel a little more comfortable, and the shoes are not slipping off so easily. Our country is growing. Our country is developing. Our country is becoming what it was intended to be. Unfortunately, many disagree. Many see this day as a failure in American politics and culture. Many see this inauguration day as the beginning of a downward slide into socialism and national weakness. I don't know about all that, but I'm choosing to have a different take on today's events. Basically, I'm choosing to look at this for what it means to me, rather than what it means to our country, because it transcends politics.

Despite my political views, I am choosing to rejoice in this day. Despite who I may have wanted to become the 44th President, I am choosing to enjoy the fact that we have done pretty well as a growing country. I'm looking back and reflecting on a country that has made some big mistakes in the past and has come a long way in a very short period of time. Within many of our lifetimes, the thought of this nation electing a black president was remote, or a dream at best. And just celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, it caused me to reflect on what his dream really was.

Many people are saying that today the dream has finally been realized, but I have to disagree. I disagree because I do not think this is what Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind when he shared his dream with this country. You see, I believe that the dream was already realized before anyone even knew who Barack Obama was. I believe that the dream has been realized in much smaller things that we take for granted. For me, the dream has been realized in the fact that my two sons see no difference in other children, regardless of color of their skin. I see the dream as being realized in sitting next to a black man on Metro rail and talking about our shared faith in Christ. I see the dream being realized by my son telling me how angry racism makes him.

Barack Obama's election as President of the United States does not make the dream realized. He is President because the dream has been realized. I imagine what Martin Luther King Jr.'s reaction would be to today's inauguration. I imagine that he might disagree with some of Obama's policy, and I'm sure that Obama might disagree with him on a few points as well. But something rises above policy and politics. We just witnessed a black family move into the White House! Just a short 50 years ago that was an outlandish thought! Regardless of political views, that should make all of us very proud to be American. This is an amazing step for Americans, and whether you lean to the left or right, you can still celebrate the huge cultural shift that has just occurred. Quite simply, you should be excited in the fact that we are finally growing into our clothes.

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