Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!

There are those special times when the soul of a slumbering nation awakens and arouses itself to some decisive act. Millions of us watched last night as the American public rallied to act in a way that will hopefully change the course of this great nation. Martin Luther King, in giving his Acceptance Speech for the Nobel Peace Prize he accepted December 11, 1964, described it this way: “Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”

I have long been an advocate for racial reconciliation, a multi-racial church, a nation no longer divided by skin coloration. I felt that I understood the fundamentals of black society, but I never saw the heart of black America as I saw it last night as Barack Obama accepted his election as President-elect.

I applauded when the Governor of Illinois handed down a moratorium on death-penalty sentences until justice could be reconciled in cases sending innocent men to the death chamber. I was never offended by Dr. Jeremiah Wright because I heard him in the context of the Southern Confederacy I met as a young Pastor. I was never put off by Oprah’s attempts to reach out in conciliatory ways that offended some Christians that thought she was anything but Christian in her attempts to mediate and bring inclusiveness.

I was not offended by the so-called liberalism of Jesse Jackson that prompted him to advocate as he did for the rights of the working class. I was not afraid of Obama because his Muslim father gave him the name of Barack Hussein. But, although I have mingled with black people all my life, I never saw the soul of black America as I did last night, with the announcement that the Obama Family will be our new First Family.

It went far beyond the glib demonstrating I expected. Far from destructive demonstrating as sometimes happens, I saw a new civility, a sober, somber side of a new responsibility; I saw aspirations never before thought possible pushing to the surface of the soul. It expressed itself in smiling faces, copious weeping, unashamed tears, people simply too overcome with emotion to utter words.

I call on President-elect Barack Obama, his administration, and all who influence the halls of government, to return to an inclusive, rather than exclusive, non-partisan governing by, for, and of the people. On the global front, I join those who support engagement in a new foreign policy based on the following five core principles, as outlined by American Friends Service Commission.

They remind us
1. Our nation should invest in peace. Our country should invest in diplomacy, development, and conflict prevention — cost-effective ways to improve national and global security.
2. Strengthen the civilian agencies that work on peace and development issues. The military is not an effective relief agency. The government needs a strong civilian foreign assistance and crisis response team.
3. Give diplomacy a chance. With a highly skilled diplomatic corps, the United States can prevent conflict and restore its international reputation.
4. Be a part of global peacebuilding efforts. We must work with renewed commitment in international institutions and partners to address major global conflicts and challenges, such as nonproliferation, climate change, migration, public health, and poverty.
5. Create justice through good development and trade policies.

We can make a difference and by the grace of God and we can do it gracefully. I pray that we do; yes we can…

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