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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some Thoughts on the Eve of Obama's Inauguration

Those of us who believe passionately in social justice, Tuesday, January 20, 2009 looms as the "Great Wakenin' Up Morning." For 8 years, we have the Bush administration tear down environmental protection, attack human rights, turn our beloved nation into an agressor nation, employ torture, run our economy for the benefit of the rich and powerful and commit a host of other rapes of the body politic.

Now, it seems almost too good to be true, and it probably is.

One cannot help but appreciate the symbolism of the fact that Obama is being inaugurated as president on the day after we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday. We will celebrate the birth of one of the most important figures in the American Civil Rights movement with one of that movements most important accomplishments. Yet we forget that Dr. King was in his time castigated, not only by those who felt he was moving too fast to advance civil rights, but also by those who felt that he moved far too slowly. Malcolm X called King's historic "March on Washington" in 1963 the "Farce on Washington" because he felt King has bowed to pressure to tone down the militancy of the event.

Right now, Barack Obama has become something of a blank canvas upon which those on the right have painted their worst fears while those of us on the left have pinned our greatest hopes on his administration. Neither side will everything they fear nor everything they hope for come to pass.

Above all, those of us who hope that Obama will truly bring about the change he has promised must realize that he cannot change all by himself, we must continue to be the change we seek in the world. We cannot now set back to enjoy the harvest of our planting and work. We must continue to work the fields to cultivate the growth of justice.

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