Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ch-ch-ch Changes!

Today we saw the swearing-in of the first African-American President of the United States. Some of my friends were planning to attend. My children and I sat down together to watch the ceremonies, and they recorded the events on their MP3 players. This day is indeed historic, and one I hope we will remember for years to come. So, why don't I feel as ecstatic as so many others clearly are?

I grew up in the post civil rights era. I went to school, worshiped, and played with children of all races, and no one gave it a second thought. My parents taught me by example that all men and women are indeed created equal; and that skin color, language, or religion do not make any difference in terms of how we treat a person. I remember being appalled at the prejudices of some of my relatives, who may not have known any better. I am pleased to say that some of those same people overcame those prejudices, and began to accept those who were different from themselves. As I listened to President Obama's inaugural address, I couldn't help but wonder what my maternal grandmother would be feeling were she alive today. I remember when she used to say, "Someday the blacks will take over the country! You watch!" and I never really knew how to respond. Late in life she became close friends with at least one African-American, and I saw her begin to realize that blacks and whites weren't so different from each other after all. I like to think she would have been proud. (Besides, she was a staunch democrat!) I am thankful that I live in an era when Americans can elect an African-American President.

I am optimistic about many of the changes that are coming. We do need to reduce our use of oil and turn to more environmentally friendly resources. I hope under Obama we can bring peace and stability in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Obama has high hopes for improving the economy and health care, and I'm hopeful that things will change for the better. Thankfully, he did not mention abortion in his speech--that's one area where Mr. Obama and I do not see eye-to-eye.

In July 2007, Obama promised Planned Parenthood that he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that would nullify all abortion restrictions in every state in the Union. Under this law, a woman of any age in any state would be able to obtain an abortion for any reason. It would also require taxpayers to pay for abortions, and essentially make the killing of unborn children federally mandated. On the new White House website, the issue of "reproductive choice" is listed as a priority in his administration.

On Thursday, I am planning to take part in the annual March For Life in Washington, D.C. President Obama says he respects those who disagree with him on life issues, so I am hopeful that he will be paying attention when thousands of us who believe in the sacredness of human life gather to express our views. (I'm excited about attending this event for the first time, and I'll write about my experience here in the days to come.) I don't have much hope that we'll change his mind, but maybe our newly elected Congress will listen to the people and vote against laws that will sanction the Culture of Death.

Am I hopeful? Yes. Do we need change? Yes. I just pray that the changes we get will indeed be the ones we need.

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