Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration of President Barack Obama: Honoring His Words

Friends Far and Wide,

As a way to simply honor this historic moment in our Nation's history, in our World's history, I point to lines from President Obama's speech that struck a chord with me. I watched this at home on my television in St. Paul, Minnesota, taking notes and tuning in and out through tears and awe, joy, wonder. I turned to friends on Facebook, as my computer alerted me to messages coming through, simultaneously in response to President Obama's Inaugural address.

When Nomi Nkomo in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Colette Deharpporte in Northeast Minneapolis, posted the exact same excerpt from President Obama's speech as their "status update," I knew I needed to comment as well.

"Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy." - President Obama


I honor the fullness of this moment, by simply echoing back words, phrases, lines, from this new leader's speech, that speak to my heart, mind, spirit and inspire me to lean into our future with hope.
"In the words of Scripture, 'the time has come to set aside childish things...'

America is a friend of each nation. We are ready to lead once more...

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace....

Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy..." -President Barack Obama
Again, can I get an "Amen"?

Here's a link to the entire text of his speech. I'd love to hear your favorite lines.

Happy contemplating!

In Peace, Love, Leadership,


tmr said...

thank you so much...i so appreciate your sharing this link and your sentiment ~ you're the best!

peace be...


Jane K said...

Dear Melissa,

These grabbed me:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

words of hope,

Sondra Samuels said...

I love it!!

Sondra Samuels,
PEACE Foundation
1119 W. Broadway Ave.
Minneapolis, MN

Colleen said...

My favorite line is actually from his acceptance speech at the DNC
"Let us lead by the force of example, not an example of force."

Kate Johnson said...

Amen, Sister!

Kate Johnson |

Cece Ryan said...

AMEN!!!!!!!! We got to watch it here at work on the big screen in our conference center. My Favorite is also “for we know that our patchwork……… and I do hope that we can finally put aside childish things, like party lines to accomplish the things that will serve all people!

Andrea said...

Amen, amen and amen, sister!


A. said...

My Dearest Queen Mab,

You have my AMEN. When the pastor started reciting the "Our Father" moments before the swearing in...I found myself joining in prayer outloud...in unison...in hope...in faith...in love.

Jody said...

Okay, in addition to what you have written (apologies if I repeat anything you alredady had I'm trying not to) here are some phrases that stuck out to me.

-On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

-In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never given, it must be earned.

-What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

-To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

-For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.

-But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism...

-This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

And of course all that you shared before which were the things at the top of my list before the ones I listed above.

Sarah G. said...


Tanya said...

Amen my friend!! AMEN!!!

Julia said...


Nomi Nkomo said...

I can't even call it a 'favourite line'. It was profound. It was a truth. We don't speak those. They mean nothing to us. We feel them but we don't speak them because speaking them would give life to them. If it's alive, we have to acknowledge its existence.

What it meant to me was so much more than a message to the Iraqi leaders. He was saying 'forgive'. Forgiveness frees you to move forward and build. Holding on to anything is a hindrance and you focus on what is/went wrong instead of celebrating the lessons and focusing on what is important - you, your well-being, the people that matter to you, your future, your family, your truths, your reality.

"[Your] people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy" - What matters in life is your successes, not your failures. I need to remember that it's my successes that matter, not my failures. I... need to remember that people will judge me on what I can build, not what I destroy.

When he said it there was a stunned silence. Honestly, it was the most powerful thing he said. Live up to that and tell me it wasn't... you know?

Sr. Rafael Tilton said...

Sr. Rafael

Julie Landsman said...

I loved the poem by Alexander too...

Philip said...

We'll I hate to rub it in, but I just had to say, "Yes, I caught it live!" I was one of the many who attended it….it was simply an electric atmosphere.

Brendan and Marie said...

How marvelous to get a glimpse into the world's reaction to our miracle! Thanks for sharing this with us.

Prayers for our new President, his Cabinet and our government--they will need them every day as they face the task of rebuilding our country.

Regards, Marie and Brendan

Ann Dillard said...


Ann Dillard