Wednesday, January 21

Historical step, and an historic trust.....

“Then all the responsible men of Israel got together and went to Samuel at Ramah, And said to him, See now, you are old, and your sons do not go in your ways: give us a king now to be our judge, so that we may be like the other nations. But Samuel was not pleased when they said to him, Give us a king to be our judge. And Samuel made prayer to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, Give ear to the voice of the people and what they say to you: they have not been turned away from you, but they have been turned away from me, not desiring me to be king over them. As they have done from the first, from the day when I took them out of Egypt till this day, turning away from me and worshipping other gods, so now they are acting in the same way to you. Give ear now to their voice: but make a serious protest to them, and give them a picture of the sort of king who will be their ruler. And Samuel said all these words of the Lord to the people who were desiring a king. And he said, This is the sort of king who will be your ruler: he will take your sons and make them his servants, his horsemen, and drivers of his war-carriages, and they will go running before his war-carriages; And he will make them captains of thousands and of fifties; some he will put to work ploughing and cutting his grain and making his instruments of war and building his war-carriages. Your daughters he will take to be makers of perfumes and cooks and bread-makers. He will take your fields and your vine-gardens and your olive-gardens, all the best of them, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your seed and of the fruit of your vines and give it to his servants. He will take your men-servants and your servant-girls, and the best of your oxen and your asses and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep: and you will be his servants. Then you will be crying out because of your king whom you have taken for yourselves; but the Lord will not give you an answer in that day. But the people gave no attention to the voice of Samuel; and they said, No, but we will have a king over us, So that we may be like the other nations, and so that our king may be our judge and go out before us to war. Then Samuel, after hearing all the people had to say, went and gave an account of it to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, Give ear to their voice and make a king for them.” (1 Samuel 8:4-22a BBE)

Today, the 20th day of January in the year 2009 will stand out for each and every American citizen as we watched via the Television, listened over the radio and internet, or (for a fortunate million or so) stood upon the lands of our nation’s capital and watched as the tradition of inaugurating our newly elected President happened for the 44th time in its history.

“I do solemnly swear to faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States of America…..”

Everyone seems to be caught up in the nationalistic fervor and euphoria of unity and change, which was the platform our newly elected President campaigned during one of the longest Presidential campaigns in our history. Relatively unknown prior to his ascension to public office as a Senator from Illinois, Barack Hussein Obama became, as he finished taking the oath as required by our Constitution, the first African-American President in our nation’s 233 year history.

Amid the cries of triumph and the tears of sorrow, one man stood where only forty-three others had stood before him and made an entry into the historical annuals of time. African-American leaders proclaimed justice served and the common citizen, both Caucasian and African-American, swelled their chests in pride at this outward appearance of ‘overcoming the racial divide’.

Indeed, it was an historical moment as the descendant of African slaves forced to labor in a country not their own claimed residence in the House built by those hands. The White House, symbolic seat of the American government. He placed his hand upon the Bible on which another fellow Illinoisan had taken his oath of office amid a national divide that would lead into the greatest war fought against countrymen on this soil. The Americans arrayed in the landscape around him rivaled the historic attendance set by another Democratic nominee some thirty-three years prior.

Today, President Barack Hussein Obama became truly one American, representative of both sides of the hyphen of his ethnicity. And upon the shoulders of this, one of the youngest and relatively inexperienced Presidents of our nation, rests the accomplishments of other African-Americans who have stood upon the soil of this land and declared through their actions and deeds that they were, indeed, citizens of the United States.

A long and distinguished history………………….

Both famously known and mere common folk who became the first for their race and led the way to the steps upon which our 44th President stood today…

Jupiter Hammon, who wrote the poem "An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries", the first published author. Jen Baptiste Pointe due Sabe, the famous 'Father of Chicago", was that city's first settler. Phillis Wheatley, the first female author. The 1st Rhode Island Regiment of the U.S. military. Thomas L. Jennings, the first patent holder in 1821. Alexander Twilight of Vermont State Legislature, in 1836. Dr. James McCune Smith, the first doctor. Macon Allen, the first lawyer.

Dr. David J. Peck, first American educated doctor. Charles L. Reason, the first university professor. William Wells Brown, first author of a novel called "Clotel; (The President's Daughter)", who also was the first playwright published "The Escape; (A Leap for Freedom)". Sarah Jane Woodson Early, the first female college professor. 1st Louisiana Native Guard of the Confederate Army, first North American military unit with officers of African descent. Bishop Daniel Payne, first college president (Wilberforce College, Ohio). Martin Delany, first U.S. Army field officer. John Sweat Rock, first attorney admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. Cathay Williams, first female enlistee in U.S. Army.

Oscar Dunn, first Lieutenant Governor (Louisiana). Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett, first U.S. Diplomat (Haiti). Thomas Mundy Peterson, first to vote under the 15th Amendment in an election. Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels, first U.S. Congressman (Republican, Mississippi). Joseph Rainey, first U.S. Representative (Republican South Carolina). Edward Alexander Bouchet, first doctorate degree (Physics, Yale) and first graduate of Yale. Henry Ossian, first graduate of West Point and commissioned officer in U.S. Military. Mary Eliza Mahoney, first graduate of nursing school. Blanche K. Bruce, first signature on U.S. paper currency (Registrar of the Treasury) in 1881. Sarah E. Goode, first female to hold a patent. Father Augustine Tolton, first Roman Catholic priest. Jackie Robinson, the first African-American Major League Baseball player.

Wiley Overton, first police officer of present-day New York City department, hired first by Brooklyn. Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, first opera singer at Carnegie Hall. W.E.B. Du Bois, first doctorate degree from Harvard University. Richard R. Wright, first appointed U.S. Army paymaster. Booker T. Washington, first to dine at the White House. Harry Lew, first professional basketball player (New England Professional Basketball League).

Jack Johnson, first heavyweight boxing champion. John Taylor, first Olympic gold medal winner (Track and Field). Madam C. J. Walker, first millionaire. Samuel J. Battle, first police officer of the newly incorporated New York City Police department and first Sergeant, Lieutenant, and parole commissioner. Fritz Pollard, first Rose Bowl football player (Brown University Bruins) who would be also the first to be named to an College Football All-American Team (Walter Camp All-American Football Team), and one of the first NFL professional football players in addition to being the first NFL co-coach. Bobby Marshall (Rock Island Independents) was the other who played professionally in the NFL. Bessie Coleman, first international licensed pilot. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, first woman PhD (Economics).

William DeHart Hubbard, first individual Olympic gold medal winner (Long Jump). Clifton R. Wharton, Sr., first Foreign Service Officer. Otelia Cromwell, first female o graduate from Smith College obtains PhD from Yale University. Josephine Baker, first international movie star (La Sirene des tropiques). Oscar Stanton De Priest, first post-Reconstruction U.S. Representative (Republican, Illinois). James W. Ford, first to run on presidential ticket in the 20th century. Arthur W. Mitchell, first democrat U.S. Representative (Illinois). William Grant Still, first conductor of a major U.S. orchestra (Los Angeles Philharmonic). William Henry Hastie, first federal magistrate and first governor (U.S. Virgin Islands). Hal Jackson, first network radio host (WINX-Washington, D.C.).

Hattie McDaniel, first Academy award (Best supporting actress, Gone with the Wind). Booker T. Washington, first portrait on a U.S. postage stamp. Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., first U.S. Army General and Brigadier-General. Josh White, first White House Command Performance. Dorie Miller, first Navy Cross recipient. The “Golden Thirteen”, the first commission Naval officers. Samuel Gravely, commissioned as a U.S. Navy officer who commanded a naval warship and achieved the rank of Admiral.
Dr. Howard Thurman, first co-pastor of the nation’s first interracial church (Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples). Todd Duncan, first member of the New York City Opera. Jackie Robinson, first Major League Baseball Player (Brooklyn Dodgers). Don Barksdale, first All-American basketball player who also achieved firsts in being on an Olympic Basketball team and Olympic gold medalist in basketball in addition to playing in an NBA All-Star game.

James Baskett, first Academy Award winner (Uncle Remus in Song of the South/ Honorary). Jesse L. Brown, first Naval aviator. William Grant Still, first composer to have his opera performed by a major U.S. company (Troubled Island by the New York City Opera). Alice Coachman, the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal Wesley Brown, first graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Edward R. Dudley, first Ambassador of the United States.

Gwendolyn Brooks, first Pulitzer Prize winner (Book of poetry, Annie Allen). Ralph Bunche, first Nobel Peace Prize winner. The first NBA professional basketball players, Earl Lloyd (Washington Capitols), Chuck Cooper (Boston Celtics), Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton (New York Knicks). Ethel Waters, first star of a network television show (Beulah). Althea Gibson, first woman to compete on the World Tennis tour and Wimbledon tennis champion (Doubles) in addition to winning a Grand Slam event at the French Open.

Cora Brown, first woman elected to the U.S. State Senate (Democrat, Michigan). Frank E. Petersen, first U.S. Marine Corps aviator. Howard Thurman, first Dean of chapel at a majority white university (Boston University). Carl Brashear, first U.S. Navy Master Diver. Dorothy Dandridge, first woman nominee of the Academy Award for Best Actress (Carmen Jones) and the subject of the cover of LIFE magazine. Marian Anderson, first member of the Metropolitan Opera. Arthur Mitchell, first male dancer and principal dancer of a major ballet company (New York City Ballet). Leontyne Price, first singer in a telecast opera (NBC, Tosca). Nat King Cole, first male star of a network television show (The Nat King Cole Show). Lowell W. Perry, first assistant coach in the NFL , NFL broadcaster and plant manager of a U.S. Automobile company. Ruth Carol Taylor, first woman flight attendant (Mohawk Airlines). Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie, first Grammy Award winners in the first year of its presentation. Reverend Clennon King, first U.S. Presidential candidate (Independent Afro-American Party). Ernie Davis, first Heisman trophy winner. Abraham Bolden, first U.S. Secret Service agent assigned to the White House detail. John Jordan “Buck” O’Neill, first coach in the MLB (Chicago Cubs). Bobo Brazil, first male world heavyweight champion in wrestling (NWA). Roland Davis, first bank examiner (U.S. Department of the Treasury).

Martin Luther King, Jr., first Time’s Magazine Man of the Year. Lloyd Sealy, first NYPD precinct commander. (28th precinct in Harlem). Walter Harris, first chess master. Bill Cosby, first star of a network television drama (I Spy). Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr., first U.S. Air Force general (Three-star). Patricia Roberts Harris, first female ambassador of the United States (Luxembourg). Burl Toler, first NFL official (Field judge/Head Linesman). Bill Russell, first NBA coach (Boston Celtics). Robert C. Henry, first mayor of a major U.S. City (Springfield Ohio). Edward Brooke, first post-Reconstruction U.S. Senator elected by popular vote (Republican/Massachusetts). Emmett Ashford, first MLB umpire. Robert O. Lowery, first fire commissioner of a major U.S. city (New York City Fire Department). Carl B. Stokes, first elected major of a major U.S. city (Cleveland, Ohio). Thurgood Marshall, first Supreme Court justice of the United States. Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., first selected for astronaut training. Benjamin Harris, first to walk in space.

Charlie Sifford, first winner of a PGA tour (Greater Hartford Open Invitational). Shirley Chisholm, first woman elected to U.S. House of Representatives (Democrat/New York) and major political party Presidential nominee to campaign. Arthur Ashe, first male to win a Grand Slam event (US Open). Marlin Briscoe, first starting quarterback in the modern era (Denver Broncos/AFL). Riley L. Pitts, first commissioned officer to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Nancy Hicks Maynard, first woman reporter for the New York Times. Lillian Lincoln, first graduate of the Harvard Business school. Hal Jackson and Percy Sutton, first owners of a radio station (WLIB-New York). Isaiah Edward Robinson, Jr., first president of the New York Board of Education.

Doris A. Davis, first woman mayor of a major metropolitan city (Compton, California). Walter Washington, first elected and first mayor (Washington D.C.). Frank Robinson, first manager of a MLB team (Cleveland Indians). Daniel James, Jr., first American Four-Star General. Barbara Jordan, first woman named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year.

Countless African-Americans who achieved firsts in the history of this nation enabled our 44th President to stand upon the steps of the Washington Memorial and become another first. Countless African-Americans and other ethnicities who refused to allow human decision to corrupt Godly authority…..that "all men were created equal."

George Washington, in his first inaugural address, still echoes in the halls of history…”The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

And it would seem, in his inaugural address, that our 44th President has heard the echoes of his predecessors. "If we are waiting for someone else to do something, it never gets done," said Barack Obama. "We are going to have to take responsibility [for our nation's well-being]. All of us. And so this is not just a one-day affair."

Today was a great and powerful statement to the citizens of the United States and a milestone in the historic growth of this once great nation. As one African-American, Byron Miller, said “We have gone from emancipation to inauguration.” Not just African-Americans, but the breath and dearth of the American citizenship. A lesson that has been hard to learn and harder to overcome. But we are not done.
President Barack Obama has been called a Messiah, a harbinger of hope, a messenger of change and his election does indeed show a change in the fundamentals of this nation.

But he, like all of us whether born of American birthright or immigrant, African-American or Caucasian-American, rich or poor, is but a broken, sinful human being 'for all have fallen short of the glory of God.'

We stand inside the door that we, the American people have opened; the door of the reality of one great American's dream, that the contents of a person's character stands more valued and sacred than the color of their skin.

It is that character that we, as a people, need to remember once more and restitch into the moral fabric of our country. In its laws, in its policies, and in its government.

To realize that theories that once called a ethnicity inferior and are promoted in our schools as fact have no place within our borders, that the continued killing of our generations to come disrupt and condemn this mighty experiment to failure by destroying the very hope that brought us this far, that commonality of purpose requires accountability to a higher ideal that is far beyond the definition and devising of mankind, and that morality doesn't lie upon the human definition of tolerance but upon the abiding and uncorrupted love born "one dark and hopeless Friday afternoon," as my mentor and friend said to me recently.

Human institutions are, by their very nature, human in their ability to be corrupted and become a source of tyranny and oppression. Human institutions cannot bring about moral and ethical change, neither can the symbol of one man no matter how charismatic or desirous of such change. There has been only one, who was both fully God and fully man, and His example is what we, as a nation, should follow. It is the framework upon which our Forefathers placed the character of this Republic.
It doesn't begin in the hallowed halls of that Republic, where career politicians forget the sacred trust that they have been given by the people who's voice they are supposed to speak into the laws and policies of the land. It doesn't not begin even in the fifty-two states seats of government. Nor at any other level of government in this nation.

As the lesson has been taught, it begins in the homes and the very hearts of the tiny villages and towns that dot the landscape of this country. Where people who refused to listen to the declarations of man and instead listened to the whispers of the Holy Spirit that declared the creation and expectation of God's creation of humanity. Who refused, though it might gain them temporary satisfaction or glory, to corrupt that very sacred truth and lived their lives in pursuit of ideals and moralities issued forth by that Creator. Refusing to listen to corrupt, sinful man and its institutions and listening to a God, both powerfully fearful and mercifully loving, to stand for things beyond their own reliance of understanding and for a wisdom that transcended their own profit.

The names of those African-American 'firsts' to which our 44th President joins and the names of those of other ethnicities who stood upon the moral ground of truth. Who realized that communicating with God through the reading and understanding of His word, praying and implementing such standards in their own lives was the only way, the best way, to overcome human fragility and sin.

I will be an active citizen, as I have in the past, and hold my government accountable to speak my voice. Not to standards to which I have decided but to a higher, more pure standard to which the Creator we owe our existence, our future, and our hope to.

I say my prayers for my leaders, duly elected in the political process that has govern this nation from its inception, for it is God who is ultimately in control and it is to God that we must, as guardians of this sacred Republic, turn. For the power we hold we corrupt, but the absolute power of God is incorruptible by human means.

As we ride the wave of a new future, where the racial barrier has been broken, let us not forget the lessons learned that has brought us to this day.

Even, the lessons learned this very day.

When the Chief Justice flubbed the Oath of Office, our new President elected to give grace…not condemnation.

When Pastor Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church, offered his prayer…..speaking truth to the God he serves, who saved him and yet speaking such truth with love and honor to those who would not believe such as he.

And to the dark and un-American statements made by another religious figurehead, Rev. Joseph Lowery, a United Methodist considered the dean of the civil rights movement, who gave voice to that which we've stated—as a nation—has no place within our walls when he said, " Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around --when yellow will be mellow --when the red man can get ahead, man --and when white will embrace what is right."

We, the United States of America, entrusted with the care of this nation, its citizens, and its future and with the election of our first African-American President, have declared with one voice that such a day has come.

Our 44th President faces challenges unique to his first elected term in office; the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the economy to name a few. "Our schools are in disarray. Our stock market is sick. Our environment is taking a pounding. We face threats from Russia and a big shadow from China,” writes Mitch Albom, of the Detroit Free Press.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true….about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy.”

The awareness of moral and ethical conduct of a people to prefer right over wrong, and to demand that all people of the nation conform their wills to the production of such right conduct is the fabric of the United States of America. As we step into a future achieved by the promotion of the first African-American President in our history, let us step forward in the traditions set forth by the laws of this land.

We can stand morally and patriotically, disagreeing with the policies and laws that the residing President may wish to impose upon the whole of the citizenry in the proper and ethical traditions of engaging our governmental officials to speak and vote the voice of the people. We may disagree with other citizens, and the forum of our official governing bodies are the ground in which to speak those disagreements.

It isn’t about the color of a man’s skin that will cause dissension, and it will show how far this country has come when the citizenship that disagrees with his policies are allowed to speak just as the ones who agree are given a voice also. The first African-American President serves not only liberals, not only African-Americans, but all people.

Let us be worthy of the history that has created this grand experiment, the lives that have paid its price of birth, and the hands upon which its life rest.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “All Tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

Our government is of the people, for the people, and governs by the people. And it is not only our President, Barack Hussein Obama, for which history stands in wait for its opinion of our faithfulness to the sacred trust of this Republic which lies in the hands of the citizenship which it was designed to serve.

President Barack Obama spoke true words forged from the lessons of our nation's history in his inaugural speech today, “On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas…………We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things…………. As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake………. it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies………………….”

Will he live up to those ideals and perform the duties of the Office of the President of the United States for the people of this land? Will the Congress, designed to legislate into laws the wishes of the people, perform its duties according to the will of the people? Will the Judicial branch, given the voice not of themselves, but of the people speak the laws given by the Congress in truth and honor?

Will we, the citizenship of this nation, hold ourselves accountable as well? To preserve, defend, and protect the Constitution of the United States, the framework of a nation OF the people, FOR the people, and BY the people?

I didn’t vote for President Barack Hussein Obama, because I don’t agree with the policies and ideals that are liberal in nature of which he campaigned, because I believe will slide this once morally sound and patriotically strong country built upon the Christian tenants brought by the first citizens to its shores further away from such ideals which constitute that sacred trust.

America is far greater than the sum of its citizens and far superior than the corrupt institutions of human-making. For it is……

"One nation, Under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for All."

So help us, God.

No comments: