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Higher Ground

yeswedidTomorrow is the big day...so exciting that it's finally here! I've had that Stevie Wonder song, Higher Ground, stuck in my head all day since hearing it at the "We Are One" concert last night. Gonna keep on tryin...Till I reach the highest ground. What a great song for a "celebration of American renewal" as Obama said last night. I can't wait to hear what he has to say tomorrow.

I'm taking the day off so I can watch every minute of this Celebration. I've never watched an Inauguration before! But of course until last year, I'd never given money to a political candidate or gone to a campaign rally either. I'm pretty emotional about all of this and part of me still can't believe it happened. Every time I think about the fact that we actually elected this amazing man, my heart fills up. I have a feeling that there will be many tears of joy shed by Team Obama tomorrow!

He's inheriting an ungodly mess and I don't have unrealistic expectations about any kind of quick fix, but I think he's a bright and progressive leader with a kind heart who will put together a team of people that will get us on the road to healing. We need an inspirational leader in the worst way and now we've got one. Blessings to him and his family.

My prayer is that more people all over the world will wake up to the beauty of diversity and realize that it's a wonderful and infinitely interesting blessing that there are people of different cultures, races, religions, and beliefs on this planet that we all share. How much we can learn from each other once we let go of old worn-out fears of those who are different from us in some way. We ARE all in this together and it really feels like tomorrow is a big step forward, not just for the USA but for the world as a whole.


(cool Capitol photo, public domain on Wikipedia Commons)

Elizabeth Alexander will be reading a poem at the Inauguration and I'm looking forward to hearing it.

This article from the BBC includes another Obama poem written by Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales.

I love the fact that it's not only Americans who are celebrating this!

NEW YEAR, 2009

Venus in the arc of the young moon

is a boat the arms of a bay,

the sky clear to infinity

but for the trailing gossamer

of a transatlantic plane.

The old year and the old era dead,

pushed burning out to sea

bearing the bones of heroes, tyrants,

ideologues, thieves and deceivers

in a smoke of burning money.

The dream is over. Glaciers will melt.

Seas will rise to swallow golden islands.

Somewhere a volcano may whelm a city,

earth shake its skin like an old horse,

a hurricane topple a town to rubble.

Yet tonight, under the cold beauty

of the moon and Venus, something like hope begins,

as if times can turn, the world change course,

as if truth can speak, good men come to power,

and words have meaning again.

Maybe black-hearted boys in love with death

won't blow themselves and us to smithereens.

Maybe guns will fall silent, the powerful

cease slaughtering the weak, the rich

will not gorge as the poor starve.

Hope spoke the word 'Yes', the word 'we', the word 'can',

and a thousand British teenagers at Poetry Live

rose to their feet in a single yell of joy -

black, white, Christian, Muslim, Jew,

faithful and faithless. We are all in this together.

Ie. gallwn ni. (Yes, we can)

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Comments (10)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Very, Very well said Annie! Beautiful post and I agree with everything you wrote.

I think it is our (and the world's) differences and rich diversity that makes us so strong and great. And Obama will inspire the best in all of us to join him in taking responsibility in making things better. Yesterday's day of service was such a great example.

Enjoy watching the ceremony Annie!


Well said, sister!

Beautiful poem. And I think Higher Ground is a wonderful, wonderful song. I think I'm going to see if I can find a YouTube link to Stevie Wonder's recent performance.

Thanks Kathy! I think you're right, that more people will be inspired to do acts of service, like yesterday and like the Toy Drive you did at Christmas. I'm trying to figure out what I want to do (something to do with animal rescue, I think).

I loved everything about the ceremony, his speech and the music and the poem and Aretha's hat! I loved that last prayer when the minister did the little rhyme about black, brown, yellow, red, and white. So sweet! I've been teary-eyed through it all.

Hope you've had a great day too!

Thanks Sandra! It IS such a great song and the version from the other night was excellent. Stevie Wonder was singing it with Shakira and Usher, and they kept flashing to Barack and Michelle, who were standing up dancing to it. So Cool!

I don't know if it's on YouTube, but I know that Girasoli found that concert somewhere on the web because she's watched it several times. Maybe on the HBO site?

Anyway, thanks for your comment and I hope you can find the song. I've still got it running through my head today!

A friend just forwarded this to me. It's the Sierra Club's "Daily Ray of Hope" thought-of-the-day email which they sent out right after the speech.

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, 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 Obama (I LOVE the way that sounds!)

Wonderful post and beautiful poem. What a wonderful day today was!! I am watching the highlights again on C-SPAN right now. I don't think I have ever watched the entire coverage of an inauguration before. This is the first time I have been passionate about a President, so it means so much more. I have been in tears so many times over the past week. Good thing 24 was on last night to give me a break from all of the emotion of this amazing day.

The concert was only broadcast on Saturday (with repeats) from HBO...but I have seen some clips on YouTube. Not sure though if they will get yanked since HBO will probably not be happy about them out on the web. They would not let the other stations show any of the performances on TV.

Happy happy day today!!

Girasoli, I've never watched the whole thing either and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I just saw him and Michelle dancing to "Signed Sealed Delivered" at the Neighborhood Ball and it was so great because that was the song that played at the end of the Rally in Raleigh I went to last fall. I think Obama is a big Stevie Wonder fan (and he's a good dancer too!).

Maybe the "We Are One" concert will be for rent on Netflix soon, if Sandra can't find it on the web. I'd definitely like to see it again.

I agree....a very happy day! I've enjoyed reading Jane's blog about being there, but watching it on TV was pretty great too.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, I loved that poem at the end too! Somehow I didn't expect that from him! It added a bit of humor and lightness to the event that was kind of cool. I thought his whole prayer was excellent! I also enjoyed Barack's speech and especially that part that you quoted!

The special moment that got me teary eyed was the actual swearing in of Obama into office and then looking at the wide angle shot of all the people in the crowd cheering! Pretty awesome!

There are several clips of all the songs (and even the speeches) on Youtube. You and Sandra can go to http://www.youtube.com/
and type in the search We Are One Obama Concert and a bunch will pop up. But as Girasoli mentioned it may get pulled once HBO sees them. I taped it too so if you or Sandra can't find it somewhere I can make a copy.

BTW, Animal rescue would be such an awesome cause to get involved in.

Today was a great, great day! Thanks again for writing this awesome post Annie!

Kathy, that prayer surprised me too, with the rhymes and all the "amens" - I loved it!

And yes, the shots of that enormous crowd were awesome. So many people filled with hope and joy.

And I just heard on Good Morning America that he's already at work! What a relief to know that he's in that Oval Office!

I am glad you had a wonderful inauguration day, filled with awe! A lot of tears were shed yesterday, that's for sure. It's great to know that he has the support of so many people from across the country.

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