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Thoughts On The Inauguration

I don't know about you, but I found this year's historic Presidential Inauguration fascinating. Watching a sea of people, of all races, backgrounds, religions and nationalities, waving American flags in celebration was a site that sent chills through me.

Watching the reaction of people in other countries celebrating with us was uplifting too. We've been travelling a dark and deleterious road since 9/11 and we're going through some very tough times right now. I felt as if some of our best friends in the world had been looking at the United States with a cautious eye - fearful of the course America has been on.

On Inauguration Day they saw renewed hope and a renaissance of freedom; they saw a new generation taking the reigns of government inspired by a new leader who believes he can make America --and the world -- a better place.

I'm one of those who believes that America, must adhere to the principles prescribed by the founding fathers; who believes that security and freedom are not mutually exclusive. Thomas Jefferson once wrote - and I paraphrase - that when we give up a little liberty for a little security we end up having neither liberty or security. America was and still is an experiment in government. If we stray from the basic tenets and principles that our country's founding fathers set forth, then the great experiment has failed and we cease to be the United States of America. America is either what the founding fathers intended it to be -- or it is not. We are either the America they envisioned - or we are not.

Inauguration Day was a special day. It was a celebration of freedom. It was a time of change and of renewal. For the first time in a long time we felt the sun shining on our faces. We felt a revived American spirit regardless of our own political beliefs. For one brief and historic moment, we the people were one.

Hope is such a restorative thing.

Inauguration Day was not about one man. It was not about Barack Obama. It was not about George W. Bush. It was about us, you and me - indeed it was about every American citizen. Our Declaration Of Independence and our Constitution both emphasize that our government is a government "of the people, by the people and for the people".

Over the past years we've turned our backs on some of those the essential principles our forebears prescribed over two-hundred and thirty years ago. But today is not about yesterday, it's about tomorrow. Though the challenges we face as a nation are grave and the road ahead will call for great sacrifice and patience - we won't be travelling alone in the dark anymore. The light of hope is shining on the road ahead. And although that road is full of challenges and hard choices, the light of hope shines down upon us all and lights the way ahead.

Today the world seems a little brighter, our friends seem a little friendlier, our enemies seem a little less contentious, our cause seems a little more just, our liberty seems more secure, and the world seems a little less cynical.

The time has come for us work together, celebrating the things which unite us, not dwelling upon those things which divide us. It's time to put away childish things.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (1 Corinthians 13:11)

The time has come to allow old wounds to heal. It's time to forgive. It's time to come together as one people for the common good. In the final analysis, we are not Conservatives and Liberals or Democrats and Republicans, we are Americans. And as Americans we too are citizens of the world. We can no longer live and act as if we were insulated and isolated from the rest of the world. Whether we wish it to be this way or not, we must face the reality that we live in a new world and the old world no longer exists.

Indeed, we all live in a brave new world where the divisions of vast oceans and the distances between continents grow smaller every day. We no longer have a choice to live in isolation; we can no longer disregard the consequences of our actions. We can, more than any other country on Earth, inspire people everywhere to aspire to greater things.

Together there is nothing we can't do; divided there is little we can do. We need to give our new President our support and our encouragement. We need to give him a chance. We will not agree with every decision and we will not agree with every course of action. The problems we face as a nation are many and they are serious. But together as a nation we can meet every challenge and solve every problem if we face them as one people. We can no longer afford to let cynics divide us as children divided into opposing teams on a school playground. We cannot allow that to happen anymore.

With hope to light the way and with patience to temper our expectations, let's all wish Barack Obama the very best. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. If he fails, then we all fail - but if he succeeds then we all succeed - and the world will be a better place.

John Lennon once called upon a generation to "give peace a chance". Our generation has now been called to "give hope a chance". It's time to come together and give hope a chance. With hope to light the road ahead and a renewed sense of purpose to bring us all together, we will be able to meet every challenge and solve every problem we face, no matter how difficult they may be.

John F. Kennedy, concluded his Inaugural address this way and the spirit of these words still echoes as true today as they did forty-eight years ago:

"...Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."


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