The wise man should keep the balance between love and power; he should keep the love in his nature ever increasing and expanding, and at the same time strengthen the will so that the heart may not easily be broken. ~ Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan
I was very stirred by the beautiful and powerful ceremony and President Obama’s inaugural address at today’s inauguration of the 44th U.S. president and the 57th presidential inauguration in U.S. history.
Amongst several speakers and singers during the ceremony preceding the presidential oath of office and subsequent speech was a rousing rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” performed by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. I was struck by the radiant faces and exceptional, spirited voices of the choir members.
I was pleased that the few political remarks that the President made were greatly overshadowed by his focus on our nation’s core democratic values and principles. As much of my own personal and professional efforts are dedicated to championing unity, I felt delighted that President Obama’s theme concerned working toward the ideal of unity. Speaking with genuine charisma, our leader called on us to dignify one another, so that common human dignity would be widely held on earth, besides in the “eyes” of G-d. Obama charged us with the responsibility to fulfill our founding fathers’ proclamation of the “unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.” On that note, he stated that a great nation must protect the rights and needs of the vulnerable and marginalized, e.g. the poor, immigrants, gays, chronically sick, etc. He eloquently added that “our freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth.”
I was also glad that the President touched on peace and the environment, two other areas close to my heart. He expressed a vision of peace that would not require wars to sustain. He promised to squarely confront threats of global climate change, as manifested by droughts, raging fires, major storms, etc.
Near the end of his speech, Mr. Obama maintained that the oath of office that he took is not different than oaths that we citizens can (should) take, as we have the collective power to shape our nation’s course. As the word inauguration refers to introducing or marking the beginning of something, we each have the opportunity to declare our commitment to furthering our own character and various forms of service, perhaps as we recently did with some of our new year’s resolutions.