Friday, January 23, 2009

this week

Three pieces came together this week that really have me thinking. I went to see Gran Torino with my son. Barack Obama was inaugurated as our 44th president. I rented the film telling the story of Ernie Davis - The Express. And of course it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The four together got me thinking about the incredible ability we have as a nation to live towards our highest ideals. As a child growing up in a neighborhood not terribly dissimilar to the one in Gran Torino in roughly the same time that Ernie Davis was making history during the ministry of Dr King, I still never even imagined seeing a president with skin significantly darker than mine. I never dreamt of a president with a name that sounded so foreign. It was literally beyond imagining. When we sang the song - Only in America "a poor boy like me can grow up to be president," we knew it really only applied to some of the poor boys in my neighborhood. And yet, here we are.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that "the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." I don't know whether that is true in all places but I believe it is certainly true in the United States. We have done some horrible things through our short history as a nation. We have allowed our fears to overshadow our hopes more than once. This week I am hopeful that the best part of who we are eventually overpowers the worst parts, that our dreams are stronger than our fears, and that justice will roll down like an ever-flowing stream. This week I am reminded of who we claim to be, but more importantly, who we are becoming.

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