To celebrate today’s historic inauguration, WVFC has been posting notes from all our contributors, from board members to commenters. (Ed.)

Thinking about Obama’s inauguration and our nation’s chance for
renewal, I want the mood of our nation to once again entertain
the hopes we had in the 1960s, when we believed we could really change
the world. His campaign stirred this emotion in a new generation of
voters and in their parents as well.

But Obama cannot do this
alone. America is perceived as a nation of individualistic,
acquisitive consumers weaned on instant gratification. I hope to see a
new spirit infuse our nation where we, individually and
collectively, help process the change Obama wants to make. We have
to dig ourselves out of the hole we got ourselves into. Voting in our
new President was the first step. We need to share our time, effort
and resources toward reviving America with a peace corps-vista-civilian
conservation corps – team focused mentality toward building a healthy
future with new values to repair our broken country.

— Barbara Olsen

Some Truths Less Obvious

Invited by the National Science Foundation to join
an expedition to the South Pole, Werner Herzog, the German filmmaker made
Encounters at the End of the World, his eerie view of life at the
pole. Aboard the plane, he confides–in an accented borderline
creepy voice that he has no intention to go to the Pole to film cuddly

Apropos Herzog, today’s inauguration
has considerable significance, principally because of the the new
President will be the first African American to hold this office. For
some of us, this transitions also represents a changing of the guard, the coming
into power of a generation behind us.

When the country swears in a president
who is younger than you are, life assumes a different cast. I am
having one such moment today. I hope to offer a few more less obvious
truths as the day progresses.

— Faith Childs

We are all watching extraordinary coverage… It seems to me that even the commentators are elated. Me, too.

On the mall on Sunday, Barack Obama looked out into the concert crowd and said he will take the voices of the people, the voices of America, the voices of change, with him into the White House. Fancy that! The president-elect was talking directly to us. Further, he’s bringing with his family his beautiful, determined, powerful, influential mother-in-law — a 21st Century Mrs. Robinson, and happily one of us!

— Elizabeth Hemmerdinger

Last night, on Martin Luther King Day, I watched some of the brilliant documentary Brother Outsider, a biopic about the visionary Bayard Rustin. He was a key organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. The crowds I see right now reminded me of the shots of that day’s crowd, a sight of which Marian Wright Edelman said, “If I live 500 years, I will never forget what I saw.” I feel the same way now. I almost wish I were shivering along with them.

That film ended with Rustin saying: “We are all one. And if we don’t know it, we will learn it the hard way.” It feels as if America has been ignoring that core truth, taking the hard way for most of the 30 years I’ve been concerned with politics. Tomorrow, the reality of all the pain still in the world will come back; but maybe that sense we have now, that we have each other’s backs, that will remain.

At 46, I didn’t expect to feel something like this.

— Chris Lombardi

Writing on my back with back spasms–the sure result of a stressful time in my personal life–I reflect on being fourteen years old and watching JFK’s inauguration.

How indestructible I was back then, how unconnected to my interior life. I was part of what that new President counted on: the youth who wanted to be led to feeling as though they had a role in our country. We who had been reared hearing of the sacrifices of the generation just before us and in knowing how easy we had it–living in a nation of modern conveniences, a surplus of food and comfort and a citizenry determined to put the sacrifices of World War Two behind them

JFK had the good sense to tell us we needed to stop being so soft and that resonated for us, the young people who probably suspected that the terror we felt during the many civil defense drills prevalent during those dangerous cold war times was at least in part the result of our being so untested and under-challenged.

So, here I lie, a woman who has lived. 48 years and through the assassination of a dream and the brutalization of national purpose–someone, who has seen the media shed the relentless light of reality on that long-ago past and shout many a false start at the future: A woman in pain who believes in hope.

Barack Obama hasn’t uttered a word as president yet, but I cling to his hand knowing my country has chosen him to represent our belief in acting according to our best possible selves, sacrificing personal comfort for a greater good.

I think, of course of that 14-year-old and call on the new definition of indestructibility that aging has given me.

— Laura Sillerman

I took a break from work here
on the cold corner of Madison and 90th St. to be present, connected
through the Internet in real time, for the inauguration ceremony. I am
here to bear witness to the peaceful transfer of power from all that
has been in our country to that which none of us imagined to be

Now all Americans are part of our history in a new way. We must not
squander this opportunity with political pettiness nor with demands
that come from a sense of entitlement. We are in the crisis of our
lives because we chose to put self before others, to put party before

I join all the Board of Women’s Voices for Change to welcome the work
that belongs to each American as we rebuild our fractured economy,
support those in our community and country who are without hope and
become part of the rebirth of our nation.

— Patricia Yarberry Allen

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