Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


a year of morning thanks

Mom's softening

My mother has mellowed, and it makes me proud and happy. A few of my friends have not; they see a disaster a'comin' at ten this morning, when Obama sweeps out the cobwebs from a long night of partying and begins work as the 44th President of these United States. "The press complained when Bush's inaugural cost 40 million, but nobody says a thing now," an old friend muttered at me yesterday. He's still mad.

But Mom told me she thinks she's going to like this guy and his pretty wife and cute kids. Mom told me she thinks he might even be good for this country. She may have been playing me--in the same conversation, she said she was still trying to figure out exactly where the two of us departed in our ideas about things. But I don't think she was fibbing. Mom doesn't lie, and she watched the inauguration all day yesterday. She told me Monday night that she was looking forward to it.

A local Christian high school did a mock election in November. I don't remember exactly, but I thought the numbers were somewhere in the area of 85% for McCain. In 2004, 86% of the county voted for Bush, and Bush won Iowa. Four years later, McCain got smacked in Iowa by nine percentage points; but here in Sioux County, he won handily--82% wanted him, the highest percentage win in Iowa. Obama supporters, meanwhile, were rare as jackrabbits. The most incredible moment of the campaign, for me at least, happened when my grandson, a kindergartner, climbed into my lap on election day, looked up at me and said, "Barack Obama kills babies." I didn't know he knew who Obama was.

I really have no idea what it must have been like for eighty-some percent of the county to have watched yesterday's inauguration. I watched the ceremony, but little else. Truly, there isn't much left to say that hasn't been said. I believe--as I have from the very beginning two years ago--we're in good hands.

And my mom, at ninety, who gave me so much grief, says she's actually coming to like him.

That fact alone, this morning, is reason to give thanks.

4 comments:

RickNiekLikeBikes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RickNiekLikeBikes said...

I'm loyal. I honor my leaders, as always. I'll be a faithful Citizen as always. But I also promise to be critical of them. I won't treat Obama as unmercifully as so many treated President Bush. I'll posit something about the Oval Office. President Clinton certainly did degrade and de-value the Oval Office as evidenced by how readily Americans and others heaped slander upon its trusses. People viciously and energetically degraded, derailed, ridiculed and mistreated a sitting President, President Bush--We then mustered enough energy to elect someone surrounded by shadow and clouds. Even his cabinet's covered in potential muck. Doesn't make Obama bad. It simply makes me cautious. What honor does that leave for the American people? Even the speeches before the inauguration were unkind toward the last administration and millions in the mall screamed joyfully at every disparaging word. I won't be that, but I will be critical. I know where my loyalty lies. I'm American to the bone. I love my freedom like I love cool air. We'll wait and see if Obama feels the same.

Did we elect Obama simply to break a ceiling? I doubt it. He's got a great smile. He certainly carries confidence and swagger into the White House. Fact--the ceiling broke and that inspires me. He's black, I'm handicapped. We don't have to think twice about that do we? Will we stop clamoring about color? Maybe not. I'm still thankful.

And I'm still suspect of the means to the end.

beim said...

Aaah...mom still knows best.

pam said...

I appreciate the dance of respectful discourse with family and communities with different perspectives. I grew up in a very conservative area, far different from the community I enjoy now, and am still flabbergasted by comments like those of your grandson. But they still come, and we love them anyway.
This time, friends from church gathered together to enjoy watching the inauguration. I'm sure there wasn't complete agreement on election day, but I'm so thankful we could celebrate this peaceful transition together.
I'm hopeful, and I pray this community spirit will stay afloat through our country's crises.