People! Can you BELIEVE it? We’re here, we’ve made it, it’s done! Ding dong, the witch is dead (or flown away anyway), and a new era begins. Oh, I am jaded, but I’m also full of hope, optimism, and love.
Whatever your political stance, whatever your beliefs, whoever you voted for: you have a new President now. If you come here regularly, I suspect that you, like me, were shedding tears of joy today; but maybe not; maybe not. And you know, you know I love you anyway, regardless of what you do in a voting booth. That’s something we are privileged to be able to do: to be able to disagree about the hows and whos of governance, and at the same moment honor and see and love one another. If you hate the man’s politics, if you hate his middle name: we can handle that, right? We can join in celebration, in recognition, on that enormous common ground that we share despite those differences. We can. We do. We will.
We have a leader who you may not have voted for, but who — I feel certain — will lead your country, our country, forward with intelligence, resolve, wisdom.
We have seen a historic blow against our racist past, our history that we do share in some sense even if our grandparents or parents only recently arrived.
We have a man whose smallest gestures declare him to be a loving and respectful husband, a devoted and committed father, a man of deep decency, living in the White House, living in the eyes of the world.
We’ve witnessed, again, the peaceful and ceremonious transfer of enormous power that, even in days that seem grim, ought make us rejoice in and of itself.
I have cried today, over and over, cried standing in a crowd this morning and rising all together to witness the swearing-in. I’ve cried during the speech and cried witnessing the emotional tears of an African-American mother and cried standing in front of a class of people from fifteen different countries, trying to share the transformative potential of a leader committed to changing the ways this country relates to the rest of the world. I’ve cried to think that torture in the name of the U.S.A. will end. And when I think about the tax bill I’ll owe after six years of refusing to pay up to Bush, well, I gotta say I choke up all over again.
But, oh … they are tears I rejoice to shed.