Yesterday was a big day in America. Â Maybe even a big day all over the world. Â President Barack Obama was sworn in, you might have heard.
Regardless of your politicalÂ persuasions, there was excitement in the air yesterday. Â Like maybe many of you reading here, I was glad to hear President Obama say “We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders…” Â It was inspiring listening to him say “and non-believers” when listing the patchwork heritage of this nation. Â Â
For me, all that warm glow was somewhat diminished, not 15 minutes later, when Reverend Lowery delivered a derisive, divisive, racist benediction. In the last minute of his “prayer,” he diminished all Americans by carving us up into over-simplified, narrow-minded, hateful, rhyming parts. Â We deserve better. He deserves better.
I understand the President is not the Reverend. Â I appreciate that the benediction is a long held tradition, and is not written by the President or his team. Â I have no issue suspending my preference for no magical thinking in this traditional moment of prayer. Â It’s not my moment, after all.
Still, hearing Reverend Lowery cast suspicion and vitriol at me so soon after the science/tech/non-believer shout-outs brought me right back to the modern day reality: Â Politicians are politicians. Â By design, they speak politics, not truth. Â And honestly? I’m ok with that. Â I understand the need to politic the body politic.
So I’ll wait to see. Â See how President Obama embraces science. And technology. And non-believers. And Americans. Â As a rationalist I don’t doubt that he can do it, but I’ll wait for the evidence that he is doing it.
Of course, not everyone sees it my way: Â I caught a little heat yesterday for interrupting everyone’s bliss with myÂ curmudgeonlyÂ Tweets. Fair enough. Â As citizens, their right to think magically is as valid as my right to think rationally. Â As humans, we’re all inclined to think emotionally sometimes, too. Â As an American, I am grateful and humbled to have the right to public discord with my fellow citizens.Â
Maybe like fellow citizen (and rapper) T.I., waxing poetic at Young Jeezy’s Official Inauguration Celebration, “Presidential Status,” Â where he claimed to have lost his prepared notes, and went with this instead:Â
“I want to thank God for somehow â€¦ I know he perfect. So I’mma thank him for everything. I’mma thank him for making me drop out of school. I’mma thank him for making me run the streets. I’mma thank him for making me sell crack. I’mma thank him for making me have shoot-outs. I’mma thank him for allowing me to watch my partners die in my arms, So I’d be fearful enough for my life and paranoid enough to go out and cop machine guns and silencers so I catch a fed case and I have to put up $3 million for my bond so I have to spend seven months of my life in my house, so I have to spend a year of my life in prison just so I be validated enough to get out there and touch the youth because they know that I done been through it, and if I say it, it means something. You know what I’m saying?”