I can honestly say I had never been more excited about a Presidential inauguration than I was today. Ironically, my happiness today more than doubled the disappointment I felt after the election.
Today I watched the inauguration as a teacher of fifth and sixth graders, students who really cannot grasp the significance of this historic day. In their lifetime only two men have become President, and they cannot remember when the first took his oath.
As I sat there watching the ceremony live on CNN, the image of the White House mesmerized me as never before. The commentator had said that part of it was "built on the backs of slaves." That statement pierced me to the heart. Tears ran down my face as I came to grips with the fact that I myself cannot truly comprehend what this moment means. Hard as I try, I cannot fully understand the injustices my black brothers and sisters have had to bear.
I cannot. I am a white, middle-class white woman.
I have never suffered for the color of my skin. In fact, I have been privileged because of it. I have never been ordered to sit at the back of a city bus, nor been bought or sold on an auction block. I have never been commanded to pick cotton till my fingers were raw nor felt the sting of a master's whip across my back. I have never been the object of racial slurs as I walked down a street nor banned from a municipal pool.
Today as I watched Barack Obama being sworn in, I wept. I wept for joy for a people who have hoped for, prayed for, and dreamed of the day when one of their own would represent them in the highest, most respected office in the nation.
He is not a sports hero.
He is not a famous rapper.
He is the President
of the United States of America.
A black man.
In the White House.