Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Go West, Young Man

Something big happened yesterday. I watched in on (Watching an Inauguration on television is SOOOOOO 2004)

Like everyone, I was moved. I was relieved. I was elated. I was veklempt. And then he said something that gave me pause. In a good way. From the transcript:

"In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction."

I have just returned from a place where worldly possessions were sold and packed, and a journey West was undertaken. It put my own journey West into sharp contrast. More photos:
Gingerbread like town

The Church

These people, the Boozers, were farmers in this tiny little Swiss town. They sold everything they owned, packed up the rest, and boarded a boat. They wound up in Saxe Gotha Township in South Carolina. Ulrich - the head of the family, was a Tory. They were farmers for 4 generations and served in two wars (some speculate that one of the women in the family was a spy in the civil war...)

Virgil (a minister), Essie (nee Wyse), and Herman...taken in 1897-98. The fifth generation of Americans. To think that they went from being poor farmers to this in a few generations. This is what America is about.

So I'm thinking - if they could do all of that and become what they became, then Cali is going to bow to my will. Clearly I'm made of strong stuff.

I was going to be all deep and moving and then I lost it. I'll let Obama be deep and meaningful for me.

And I'm thankful for a president who can speak in complete sentences. Who respects science as well as faith (all faiths). And who doesn't look like - as a friend put it - he's contemplating navel lint. And yay! Young children in the White House. What this country needs is a shot of youth.

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