Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chicago's President

Today My class and I witnessed the historic inaguration of Chicagoan Barack Obama. My class has a bunch of talkers, so naturally I was dreading having to get on thier backs about talking to their friends while the moment passed us by. But, I was impressed with the respect that my kids showed. They clapped everytime someone spoke, they bowed their heads when a pastor prayed, they held their hands over their hearts and sang our national anthem, without me buggin them to do it. I have never seen anything like it before, it's like their understanding of the moment in time brought forth a well of citizenship that has not been tapped in young people for generations. Two of my students gave articulate and passionate assessment of their feelings afterward, one said that it makes him feel like that "maybe in 20 years we'll have a Latino president, or maybe even a Middle Eastern". The other, I'm not joking, welled up giving his summary, " It's amazing, I mean, we're viewing history, nothing ever like this will ever come close to happening like this again."
I myself, am glad to be on this side of history, to collectively rejoice with my students, other , Americans, and world citizens in the new direction our country is heading in. For those of you that read my previous blog about election night, I have lightened up a little. Unlike the night of November 3, where people just seemed fake and the reaction to the win seemed contrived . I am glad today felt like one of genuine joy and excitement.

Today I was inspired by my students optimism; I am inspired by fellow Chicagoans that scrimped and saved to bring generations of their families to Washington D.C, I'm inspired that someone from my block made it to D.C., I am inspired by all the people that lived through the Civil Rights era crying in the crowd, I am inspired by the inaguration speech in which, I felt, Barack was able to express his awarness of his symbolic meaning and America's symbolic meaning, to push our country into the future, by compelling us to look back at our past and reexamine where we have come from and what our forefathers ideals were for democracy, freedom, and liberty. Today, I am proud that our country, has shown that what makes our country, our people great, is that in the name of our ideals we can work to reconcile our countries' moral failures such as slavery, discrimination, economic injustice, intolerance, greed, poverty, wars, selfishness etc. Thanks Barack for leading us into that future.

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