Monday, January 19, 2009

It's Really Happening...

I've been silent here for a month. After a 2008 in which I ranted and raved about everything and everyone.

But I wake up today, on a day where we celebrate Dr. King's birthday...and knowing that Coming Together At Last is out, and knowing that the Bushes have moved out of the White House...and I think about what that means. And I think about how passionately I endorsed and hoped and prayed for tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Barack Obama will be sworn in as President of the United States. Tomorrow, the official face of our nation...will be black. Part of me wants to shy away from that, because after all, Barack's complexion is monumentally unimportant to me in so many ways. I didn't and do not support him for that reason. It just didn't register as a negative.

But see, that's the point, isn't it? I mean, I don't want to sound like a braggart. But isn't my attitude exactly what Dr. King dreamed about and searched and fought for so hard that they actually killed him for it? Dr. King never wanted restitution or guilt or apology... he wanted opportunity. He wanted his children and his grandchildren to be judged not by their genetics, but by their deeds.

So, I celebrate the inauguration of a black man because it represents a step toward that color-blind society. But that is not what has me excited. That is not what has me watching YouTube again.

Tomorrow, a man takes office who believes in inclusion over exclusion. Who appeals to our hopes instead of our fears. Who's first response to an attack is tempered instead of temperamental. Who is looking for solutions instead of scapegoats.

He is the child of a single parent. He understands the importance of grandparents. He knows what and where his roots are. He understands that it sometimes takes competition to bring the best out of us. He is unafraid to show that he loves his family. He is unafraid to utter the words, "I was wrong" although he presumably hates the need to do so. He hates to lose, but he is not arrogant in victory.

He does not say, "I am the authority," he asks us to join his team. He asks us to care for our fellow Americans and our fellow citizens of the world. He asks us to sacrifice, not shop. He can pronounce nuclear.

And he is perhaps the ultimate embodiment of the American Dream.

Tomorrow, we move from a nation that locks it's doors in fear to one that opens them to their neighbors. Tomorrow, we reclaim optimism, at a time when it is desperately needed. Tomorrow, the man who was derided as unready will hit the ground running with more of his administration already in place than any President I can remember. Tomorrow, the man I rooted for like he was the point guard of my basketball team steps on the court to take on the challenges and I will support him the way I supported Magic when he lead the Lakers. Because it is not bad for the President to inspire the dedication that a rock star, celebrity or sports hero does. Indeed, it has been far too long since one did.

I am a Charger fan, a Padre fan and a USA fan. And an Obama fan, too.

And yeah, maybe I'll have the feeling like my team just won the big game. And maybe that's wrong because all our work is ahead of us, not behind. But anyone who spent as much time in locker rooms as I did knows that leadership may be a concept in rhetoric, but it's a required reality when a team needs to accomplish something.

Tomorrow, our point guard bring the ball up court. Set the offense up, gang. We got a game to win.