20 January 2009

Joy Across the World

It’s Tuesday, 20th January, 2009. Inauguration day in the United States of America. The country next door—our best friend and closest neighbour—is celebrating en masse. And so are we, and people in countless other cities, towns, communities, in countries across the world.

President-elect Barack Obama—he’s still about 30 minutes from taking the oath of office as I write this—is a human being. He can’t fix everything wrong in the US, in the world, over night. He knows this. Most of us know this. But he embodies a hope that has been long missing for many of us, of all races, of all nations.

I’m a bit of a political junkie, although I keep most of my political thoughts to myself in most regards. It’s no secret that I despise our current Prime Minister, but he also is just a human being, doing what he does. However, as a Canadian and a citizen of the world I’ve been pulling for Barack Obama for well over a year, and I’m so happy and excited and proud of our US neighbours right now. What I like about this man is that he doesn’t do ad hominem attacks on opponents. He has been respectful of the 43rd president, and kind and respectful to his former opponent in the presidential race. In his dignity and respectfulness, his intelligence and kindness, he represents a spirit that we know is at the root of most humans, but that sometimes gets suppressed as we get caught in the rat race, in stress and worry and fears and concerns.

It’s kind of fun to watch three different stations (BBC, CNN and MSNBC) all roughly at the same time as well as scanning various sites and blogs on the Interwebs. Keith Olbermann just called this “a cold but hopeful morning” in Washington, and so it is across the US, across Canada too. I love Obama’s spirit of non-partisanship, his reaching out across party lines. I hope that continues through his presidency, and that those who are his opponents in doctrine continue to also reach out and work together in common concern for their country, and for the world.

There are touchstones of time that we can remember across the years. We know, those of us who are old enough to remember such instances in history, where we were when John F. Kennedy was sworn in. When he was taken too early from all of us. When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech. When Elvis died. When the Million Man March happened. When 9/11 happened. Some happy stories, some terribly, terribly sad stories.

We will remember where we were when the networks called it for Obama, and we will remember where we were today, when he is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. I’ll be sitting here, laughing and crying at the same time, as I was the night he won.

May God—whoever or whatever you conceive that to be—bless Barack Obama, his family, his government, and his country.
And because this is normally a gardening blog…a patriotic bouquet for all my US friends.


  1. Like you, I'm afraid people will expect too much to quickly from this man. He does seem to have a dignity and respect for all of his fellow men. For this reason I too am hopeful for a better world beginning today.

  2. I thank you for this wonderful post Jodi. Your writing skills do shine here.

    I have been sitting here listening to the speaches crying and hoping just a portion of his positive driving force will accomplish the most for many.

    He is a breath of hope.

  3. It's 12:57. He's been president for 57 minutes. I'm feeling better already.

  4. Thank you for the support and friendship Jodi. It is done, we have a 44th president and everything feels possible.

  5. Jodi, Beautifully written. It was hard not to cry. What a crowd, what a speech and what a road ahead for the US and the world.


  6. What would we do without our dear supportive Canadian friends? Jodi, you're an eloquent treasure. Let freedom ring!

  7. Jodi, Thank you for this eloquent post. I watched the ceremony, more excited than I can ever remember being on this day, and eventually had tears running down my face. I hope we Americans take his words to heart--he cannot do it alone, nor can our government. We all must take responsibility for making this world a better place.

  8. Thank you my dear Canadian friend! As an American, I know that I do and what we do as your neighbors greatly affects you. I hope that I, and my fellow citizens, can truly hear what President Obama said in his inaugural speech. It is a speech worth reading and studying. In it lie the basic foundation of truths that, if embraced and lived, will make the difference we all need in order to be the responsible neighbors that we need to be to you and your fellow Canadians.


  9. I am like Rose. I've seen a lot Presidents come and go with my earliest memories of Nixon and Watergate and never have I been as excited or as happy as I am now. Change, and history in the making and I get to see.

  10. Thanks for the bouquet and the words, Jodi! We'll go forward with misty eyes and hope in our hearts.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  11. Well said Jodi, I have so much hope for my country and the world, he is only one man but if he brings out the best in all us his presidency would be a success. Today I didn’t get much done at work, I had CNN on my lap top all day long

  12. Jodi, thank you so much for the Canadian support as we go forth in hope with our new 44th president! I was moved to tears by it all today, such an amazing step we've made forward. As he said in his speech today, it was just 60 years ago that his father would have had to sit at the back of the bus. And now his son is president! I pray that he is up for the challenge, as the world expect so much from him. He's only human after all!

  13. Jodi - It is so good to know that hope springs eternal throughout the world, and that you share in our joy and optimism on this fateful day. Ours is a political household - my DH worked on the Clinton campaign and in the White House, and I ran campaigns and did national political direct mail for many years. Though I normally don't wear my politics on my blog, I felt empowered now, as well, posting my photo with the President taken almost 2 years ago. I'm looking forward with hopeful optimism.

  14. Thank you - for the thoughts, and the well wishes over here in the US. It's so wonderful to have a president who is respectful, and focused on real and practical solutions to our very real problems, and actually solicits the input and participation of the electorate (okay, within reason). A day full of optimism, hope, and nice to have a President who remembers that we are also part of the wider world.
    Good to know that you and the other folks internationally have been watching this process with us.
    best wishes & thoughts from a little ways south...

  15. Similar feelings from France, I wish him luck.

  16. Hi jodi;

    I concur heartily with your words, it's all so exciting! This Canadian would like to take advantage of your comments page to say I watched President Obama's inauguration and I, too, congratulate America. They have elected a splendid man and I felt honoured to witness, even through tv, such an historic moment. It's too big for me to express!He is something else! I loved seeing all the people there in Washington; seeing the excitement in their faces. Way to go, America!
    - Chris from upriver in Stewiacke

  17. What a lovely post, jodi. At this point, it doesn't matter whether you voted for him or not. He is the President of the United States and he needs our prayers and hard work to make the turn-around this country needs.

    I am very hopeful with him at the helm - a feeling I haven't had in quite some time. It's a very scary time and I pray that he is able to unite those in Washington as well as the country they govern, to pull us out of this hole we're in.

  18. My husband was glued to the TV all day yesterday. Even if it hadn't snowed, he still would have watched the inauguration -- he took the day off specifically to see it.

    I am not as much for ceremonies as he is, but I am cautiously optimistic. While I am very happy that Obama is President, I would not want that job for anything.

  19. Thanks! One of the best things about this election is all the people throughout the world who are just as excited and happy.

  20. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. Indeed, as I've been around the blogosphere the past several days, I've been impressed by the generally positive response to the new US President.

    Especially I've been impressed by those who have acknowledged that Mr. Obama wasn't their choice but now he's their president and they honour and follow him. Granted, I don't go near blogs or other websites that are too politically strident--I admit to being somewhat left of centre in my own leanings, but I don't like extremists of either end of the spectrum, so I just don't go there. :-)

    I think we're witnesses to a remarkable nexus in history, and it will be fascinating to see what happens in the coming months and years.

    Again, I stress that President Obama is only one man, and I don't regard him as saviour of all things in the universe. It's brutally tough job he's taken on. He knows that and wants us all to know it's tough--but also that we're all in it together, and not just Americans; the rest of us will do our part too, or at least some of us will surely try.

  21. Yay! Tuesday was a wonderful day. Now, there's much work to be done - but yes, proud indeed.

  22. Very well written and spoken about your hope for everyone connected to NC;) Oh the USA I mean.

    Ok, I'm mostly to the right, a Republican, and a loving caring person. My happiness about Obama is how he is ridding the South of our prejudice hateful past. I would like to wash that mess right off the face of the earth.

    I saw a reporter judge Obama today on not knowing word for word what he was signing. 99% of those in Washington who sign something don't know it word for word. At least Obama ask-right? That said a lot to me. I hope he keeps asking.

    I did get tickled today as he and Biden worked their way through yet another sticky situation. Obama was looking to Biden to know who was being sworn in for that particular event. Neither knew and Obama was quite the genteman about it. He didn't laugh at the situation--instead you could see him taking a serious note in his head that he would never be put in that situation again.

    It's a smart man who can handle themselves in an embarrassing situation. Obama had many things like that happen today. Each one, he showed a lot of style and character. He looks tired and I bet worried to death he won't memorize it all in one week. Good grief...give him time. Looks to me like he's trying his best. I like a man who is not afraid to ask a question on national TV. Poo on those who didn't brief him correctly.

    Mr Obama, I'm giving you time. I'm praying for you. I wish you well. You look like you think on your feet and present yourself as a man who can mend the road block between the two parties. If you succeed, then I succeed.

    And Jodi, that is how most of my Republican friends think. But then again---I hang around some very smart friends. We know we have different views on certain issues but we would all be fools to wish him badly. We are only as good as our leader.

  23. Anna, that's a fabulous comment. We are ALL only as good as our leaders, aren't we? And definitely, I (personally) don't judge all Republicans as being bad, or all Democrats as being good. That would be naive. I like to think that there's a lot of good in most of us, and that most politicians get into public service to actually serve. Not all, of course. There are some in every party in any country I pay any attention to politically (that would primarily be yours and mine, Anna) that give me the heebie jeebies. That's just human nature.

    There will be those looking only to find fault with Obama, and others who maybe don't look critically enough. I am cheering for him, very much so, but also for all of Congress and the Senate to work together to solve some of the difficulties that the US finds itself in. Likewise, here in Canada. The time for petty bullying (in our federal government) is past.

    Okay, enough politics out of me! Back to flowers, everyone.


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