This morning I stood alone in my office and watched Barack Obama be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. When Aretha Franklin sang, I cried. And basically I didn’t fully stop until just now and if you come poke me I’ll probably start again.
And when one’s a 43 year old Nebraskan, one has to ask … why am I crying?
So I started listing reasons in my head, and I couldn’t stop.
It was like an emotion million-layer torte. Layer after layer after layer. Meaning upon meaning upon meaning.
For 8 years, I was involved with the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt – a project much bigger than me. But when working on it, you could feel the importance of it. The level of trust placed on us to memorialize, to publicize. To respect. To not forget. Was (and is for those who) overwhelming.
I never saw anything more successful than the Quilt. It is awe inspiring, it is personally inspiring.
Can it be that, to even a limited extent, we can now feel that inspirations as Americans, as human beings? That we can feel the trust and faith we place in each other – and be energized by that faith?
This morning I cried for the people who didn’t get to see today. My friend Corey Smith, my Great Aunt Billie Benson, my mentor Francis Edward Elliot, and Washington State Senator Cal Anderson. All from very different backgrounds, but all who would have been unified in the events of today.
President Obama said today:
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
What would Jim, the social media and management consultant see in this? A call for an end to org-chart based trickle-down economic theory that rewards the hoarding / consolidation of resources, information, and power. The introduction of concepts like reach and the power of networks to balance distribution. The increase in opportunity inherent in a truly innovative and collaborative capitalist system.
Are we savvy enough to answer this call?
And because I am eternally silly: here’s the inauguration in Lego (minus the other 2 million people on the mall):
Blogged at Modus Cooperandi in Seattle, WA