Yesterday's Inauguration of President Obama was the most-watched inauguration ceremony ever. I have email from friends all over the world who stayed up into the wee hours to watch a live stream from Washington DC online. At work, we have a standing weekly staff meeting on Tuesdays, but this week everything "IAM" halted at 11 a.m. and we lowered the screen and streamed Hulu's live feed (while listening to a radio broadcast - the stream was very, very delayed! As my friend Alissa twittered, "At one point, Rick Warren was singing the National Anthem and sounded a lot like Aretha Franklin!") Everyone in the world, it seemed, was watching.
On my way in to Manhattan yesterday morning, I was sitting on the Staten Island ferry reading a pre-release of Mako Fujimura's forthcoming book from NavPress, Refractions, (it's excellent, by the way) when I was approached by a band of youths, one of whom was carrying a small video camera. They explained that they were doing a project for school, and asked permission to interview me. I agreed to it, and the interview began.
Below is a recap of their questions and my answers...
Are you excited about today's inauguration?
Yes, I am excited about it.
Why? What are you most excited about?
In light of our country's history, I am excited that we have an African-American now holding the most powerful position in the world. I just think it speaks volumes about the possibilities for anyone, no matter how oppressed they might have been. I see his election as a very redemptive symbol, in that regard. My parents' generation can recall the days of segregation. My dad was a civil rights activist, and in fact, he was at MLK's "I have a dream" speech in DC. He took a bus from Detroit with a bunch of other civil rights workers. So the fact that within 50 years or so, we've come so far... I think of the Darwinism, which taught that certain races (namely caucasian) were superior to others (namely blacks and hispanics), and I think of eugenics - the plan to wipe out these supposedly "inferior" races (which was the intent of Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood), and now that nonsense is blown to bits. So I see it as a very good thing.
I also think it will help the way the rest of the world sees America. Once again, we are the land of promise and hope.
Do you think President Obama will keep his campaign promises?
No, I don't. Because he promised things that are simply not within his power to fulfill. But that's always the case in campaigns. I never expect politicians to keep all of their promises. My expectations in that regard are pretty realistic.
What promise from his campaign to you most hope he will keep?
Well, I'm pro-life, and one of the promises I am really hoping he will keep is the promise to reduce the number of abortions in our nation. He is a pro-choice President, and he has disappointed a lot of us with his statements to Planned Parenthood and his promise to sign the FOCA. But we had a pro-life president for eight years, and unfortunately, not much changed for the good during the last eight years in the pro-life movement. So I don't expect that the answer is having a pro-life president. However, Pres. Obama says he is committed to finding practical help and solutions to reduce the number of abortions, and I pray he will see that through. Because we can change abortion laws all we want, but if people's circumstances don't change - if the reasons they are seeking abortions in the first place don't change - then pro-life laws are simply not enough.