President Obama's Vision

President Obama's Inauguration Speech captured the spirit that I hope Freedom Summer will embody. Let me offer a few key passages:

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly...

[W]e can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

[A]s much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.

-- President Barack Obama, Inauguration Speech, January 20, 2009

Like many Americans, my first instinct is to feel inspired, but NOT to take these words seriously as a call to action. Let those who work on Capitol Hill or who take jobs in the Administration take the words to heart. For me, it is enough to feel inspired but to return to making a living the next day. Perhaps churchgoers are more accustomed to taking rhetoric to heart, to living the word. Not me.

But times change. I read the newspaper and fear for our kids futures. And it feels like we have a unique opportunity in the aftermath of Obama's election and with the sense of opportunity in the midst of economic crisis. So I am trying to push forward, following my instinct to believe that now is the time for action--despite my first instincts.