Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
14th January 2021
On January 20th President elect Joe Biden will become inaugurated at the 46th President of the United States of America. He will take the oath of office as is traditional, in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC, but this year the crowds that gather are likely to be smaller.
Firstly the Covid 19 pandemic means that there must, of course, be restrictions on large gatherings. And secondly following the recent attack on the Capitol on the 6th January by pro-Trump supporters, there will be high levels of security aiming to prevent further disruption and violence, which shocked people in the USA and around the world.
In addition and breaking with tradition, the outgoing president Donald Trump will not be attending, as he still disputes the outcome of the election.
Our quotation this week aptly comes from the 44th president of the USA, Barack Obama. I can still remember the excitement he engendered in many people, not only in America, but around the world when he was inaugurated. History will be the judge of his final legacy but what he did do is bring hope for change and particularly amongst those who had felt dispossessed for so long.
Barack Obama came from neither a moneyed or politically established family. As an African American he was only too aware of the existence of inequalities but also that the only way change would come about would be by taking action, accepting personal responsibility, and inspiring others to act. He also recognised that this would not happen quickly and that real change takes years, requiring each generation to embrace its obligations as well as its opportunities.
“True democracy’ he said ‘ is a project that’s much bigger than any one of us. It’s bigger than any one person, any one president and any one government. It is a job for all of us.”
Many admire Barack Obama and while he did not achieve all he set out to do, he knew that positive change happens not through the will of any one president or government, but through the process of democracy. And it is our responsibility to carry on that process because society is not perfect! But it will only happen if there is a place for all voices to be heard.
Let’s hope that this inauguration will be peaceful and hopeful, and that the dark scenes of people seeking to undermine democracy on January 6th will not be repeated. And let us, in our lives, be ‘the change that we seek’.