AnnE, who worked yesterday as an ASL interpreter for the inauguration, continues her guest stint at BCC.
I arrived at the Inauguration so early yesterday morning, it was pretty much uniforms, audiovisual crew, and of course the snipers.
With fewer than half the 2009 crowds expected and at least fifteen more degrees forecast on the mercury, I was hopeful for a less Armageddon-like experience than four years ago. Indeed there were fewer tree climbers, and the crowds did not scurry across the frozen Reflecting Pool this time as though a Starbucks lay on the opposite bank of the North Platte. There was however a fair amount of fainting, port-a-john scaling, and a two-hour monologue shouted from the perimeter about THE BABIES.
The theme was “Faith,” and the musical performances featured enthusiastic and unapologetic hymns of praise, as well as patriotic standards in which God was central. The choir from Lee University invited our monotheist cousins and folks of other persuasions with aspirations (pun intended) to “join with Abraham’s seed to adore Him.” It was one worshipful program.
In his address, President Obama drew portraits of freedom and equality for nearly every face in God’s image, repeatedly calling for the “founding creed” asserted in the Declaration of Independence to be applied at last to everyone. As “heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war,” he challenged us to be peacemakers and “carry those lessons into this time as well.”
On this day for remembering Dr. King, such talk evoked his quotation I have written in my scriptures: “Peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” The President made it clear that we are to “carry on what those pioneers began,” enumerating for each forsaken company the milestones particular to their arrivals at life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
In the benediction, Rev. Luis Leon returned the admonition directly back to leadership, borrowing the words of Micah that once called Israel to account: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and always walk humbly with God?” It was a memorable rhetorical choice to petition God to intervene that the country could resist those interpersonal and societal injustices that rob us of our humanity and give place to what we might call “the natural man.”
Though personally feeling very naturally spent, hungry, and cold at the time, it was stirring when he blessed “Barack…and Joe” by name. As a Latter-day Saint, what quickened within you during yesterday’s events? Ponder anew!