An Exhortation

I recently read of a poll which asked, “do you believe that Americans today still respond to the call John F Kennedy made in his 1961 inaugural speech, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country’?”  23% said Yes, 70% said no.  Hmm.
In a few hours our new President will issue his own exhortation, a call to action for a new millennium.  The dictionary defines Exhortation as,a communication intended to urge or persuade the recipients to take some action.
What action will that be, I wonder?  How will I respond?  How will this country respond?  The problems facing our nation are far too large for one person, or one institution to address.  Yet if we are ALL willing to participate, amazing things are possible.
San Francisco composer (and Cleveland native) David Conte was so inspired by the closing paragraphs of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech on election nite that he pulled key phrases into a song that will have its world debut at today’s inauguration ceremony.  Many believe that this song, An Exhortation, captures the essence of Obama’s own call to action.
America, we have come so far.
We have seen so much.
But there is so much more to do.

Let us ask ourselves:
If our children should live to see
The next century
What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call.
This is our time
To reaffirm that fundamental truth
That out of many, we are one;
That while we breathe, we hope;
And where we are met with doubt,
We will respond with that timeless creed
That sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can.
The key word, here, is WE. Not I can, or They can.  We.  We are all in this together, and if we wait for someone else to save us, we will wait a long time.  If this new president can inspire people to participate and to actively become part of the solution, I believe anything is possible.
That is my hope, on Inauguration Day 2009.



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