We watched streaming video of the Inauguration this morning here at Sundance. (Windrider is hosted by the wonderful folk at the Mountain Vineyard.) I confess that when President-elect Obama came out I had a catch in my throat and tears in my eyes. The catch was caused by the pure joy of seeing an African-American elected to the highest office in the United States. The tears were caused by profound concern for the new president’s safety.
I was eight and in the Montreal train station, when JFK was assassinated. We were enroute to Trenton, Ontario – in four days we would leave Canada for what would become five years in Europe. A week before Easter in ’68, my father told me that Martin Luther King Jr had been assassinated. Later that same Spring, in my Grade 7 class room in Lahr, Germany, we were told Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated – mere weeks before we would return to Canada.
The European part of my childhood was framed by the assassinations of three key US leaders. When the tears hit me this morning, I realized that I have an expectation of impending doom for American leaders based on events from more than forty years ago.
Although many of his political positions scare the stuffing out of me, I pray for President Obama every time I think of him. I pray that he will experience God-given wisdom that will allow him to be all that people want him to be. But my consistent prayer for him is for his safety – that he will live to be a ripe old age and be an inspiration to future men and women who aspire to public office from non-dominant ethnic and racial backgrounds. May it be so, Lord.