Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cautiously Optimistic for America

My family and I are in Atlanta where I am giving a lecture entitled "Beer, the Bible and Archaeology" at the Carlos Museum at Emory University.

We drove up here on Saturday. It was amazing driving through Dixie, seeing so many confederate flags, and listening on the radio to all the discussion about Barak Obama becoming the 44th U.S. president. This moment in history was especially poignant while driving through epicenters for the Civil Rights movement like Montgomery and Birmingham. I of course tried to play Clark Griswald and teach the kids about the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, the Montgomery bus boycott 1955-56, the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the struggles culminating with the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. I even played songs like Neil Young's Alabama and Lynard Skynard's response Sweet Home Alabama.

Then on MLK day, along with viewing the King Tut exhibit and visiting the Jimmy Carter library, we drove to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, where the most famous civil rights leader was born and where he lies buried.

I'm afraid that all of the unity and good will and hope that Obama brings to this country and the world will gradually dissolve through the next two years. But for now, I'm thrilled to be watching the incredible jubilation on so many faces on this great day. And if Obama asks me to make sacrifices for the good of the world, and if he asks me to do even more service than I currently perform, I'm willing to be sure. While I am clearly capable of dissent, I am even better at following a true leader. So now, with the help of millions, and standing on the shoulders of so many people who have struggled, Obama sets out to fix the world.


Leigh C. said...

I thought Neil Young's "Southern Man" was the response to Skynyrd. Just sayin'...

Sue said...

So let me get this straight -- now your kids know about more Supreme Court decisions than Sarah Palin??