Archive for the ‘Inauguration’ Category

>Let Freedom Ring

January 20, 2009

>We have a new president. If you have followed this blog at all, you don’t need me re-hashing policy differences or the new direction we will be moving in.

You don’t need me to dissect the president’s speech.

You don’t need me to tell you that Rick Warren’s prayer was lack-luster, but that Joseph Lowery’s prayer ended with a bang.

“We ask you to help us work for that day
When Black would not be asked to get back,
When Brown can stick around,
When Yellow will be mellow,
When the Red man can get ahead, man,
And when White will embrace what is right.”

But you may not know this. There is a drive on to have the president create a new cabinet position: Secretary of the Arts.

A Secretary of the Arts would further legitimize America’s place in Art History and in the international dialog through the many disciplines of art – a language itself. People yearn for arts & culture and if they don’t, most are missing out on education, exposure, self-expression, & a creative outlet for internal strife versus unconstructive outlets that are too often used in our society. Production of art can be both a creative & an intellectual pursuit. Exposure to art has numerous benefits, one being for society as a whole to be elevated. Let’s put an arts leader in the Cabinet to start measuring up to other governments’ commitments to arts & culture.

Read the rest at the link. Sign the petition here. I am number signature number 159466.

On Sunday, Quincy Jones was asked about serving in that position, should it be created. Well of course he would.

Speaking of Arts, how about the Queen of Soul today. Let Freedom Ring, Aretha! You are likely to see replays of the Speech and the Oath, but here is a replay of the Song. Nice hat, too. This was posted by a guy in Germany.

There is something about this new direction that is inspiring musical artists to give us their very best. We saw that on Sunday, Monday and now Tuesday.

Now, let’s go watch the parade.

>In Honor of Barack Obama

January 20, 2009


Picture credit: The Obama Tree

Today. We are one.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Those words are from the Declaration of Independence.

It’s that “all men are created equal” part that we are inching toward today.
Yesterday we heard those words repeated as Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Dream” speech was replayed. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Since this post is going up before our president elect’s inaugural speech, a comment on that will come later. For now, in recognition of the historic nature of today, I have put on display the historic flags that we use on such occasions.

Seeing the Capitol draped in flags reminded me that Bessemer should have a display as well. Since I haven’t seen any other public displays in honor of Obama, I consider this the official-unofficial tribute from Bessemer, Alabama.

The flags, in order, are the Bennington Flag, that tradition says was flown at the Battle of Bennington (actually fought at Wallomsack, New York, not Bennington, Vermont) in 1777. This is the only U. S. historical flag with white stripes rather than red, as the outer stripes.

The next flag is the Betsy Ross flag, the first official flag of our country, with the circular ring of stars, and flown from June 14, 1777 to May 1, 1795.

The “Star Spangled Banner,” with 15 stars, is next. It inspired a song at Ft. McHenry.

Next is one of the flags that flew during the Civil War. This one has 34 stars. The flag changed a few times during the civil war, as states were added during wartime.

Behind it is the flag that flew during World War II, when my father fought in Europe and the Pacific.

The last flag is the flag with 50 stars that is flying today as Barack Obama becomes our 44th President.

>America is Beautiful

January 20, 2009

>Did you watch Oprah today? She premiered this song, which she had asked David Foster and to write. Faith Hill, Seal, Mary J. Blige and Bono and a choir of kids join in.

Here is a link to watch. America’s Song . Downolad it for free until Tuesday afternoon here. Or watch it here. Go full screen. And feel good about our country.

Be sure to visit tomorrow to see what I have done to help Bessemer celebrate.

>Almost Divine

January 19, 2009

> 1 Day. One day, and our country is racing toward becoming a more perfect union.

Picture credit Hell for Leather magazine

This is a picture of Walter Villa on a 250 RR Harley-Davidson/ Aermacchi in 1976 at the Nürburgring. The person who posted the picture said, “And yes, that numeral 1 on the number-plate means what you think it means.”

And number 1 for our country ascends to the presidency in 1 day.

Programming Note: Bessemer Opinions will no longer be posting comments of a hateful nature. This site is not a community forum for debate. Bessemer Opinions is about moving forward, both in our community and in our country. Comments that bring people or groups of people down, without cause, do nothing to help our community or country.

“Almost Divine”. Those are the word used by Dianne Mills to describe the convergence of the Martin Luther King Jr, holiday with the inaugural ceremonies of Barack Obama. Dianne hosted a party yesterday to celebrate.

But today is reserved for tributes to Martin Luther King, Jr. Watch this video tribute from Park Community Church in Chicago. Oh, it’s different.

Read my post from last year, since Health Care (and war) is still an issue: Martin Luther King Jr: Pro Public Health and Anti War .

If King were still alive, I am sure he would be offering an inaugural prayer. Instead, it was offered by Bishop Gene Robinson yesterday. Here it is. Even if you are not particularly spiritual, read this prayer, as it embodies the spirit of our nation, and if we all heed its words, our nation will soar.

Good afternoon,

Before this celebration begins, please join me in pausing for a moment to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

Oh God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears, tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die a day from malnutrition, malaria and AIDS.

Bless this nation with anger – anger at discrimination at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants; women, people of color; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort at the easy simplistic answers we prefer to hear from our politicians instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed any time soon and the understanding that our next president is a human being, not a messiah. Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.

Bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the ways we care for the most vulnerable. And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of the president of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady calm captain. Give him stirring words, we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color blind reminding him of his own words that under his leadership there will be neither red nor blue states but a United States. Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him strength to find family time and privacy and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods. And please God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents and we’re asking far too much of this one, we implore you oh good and great God to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand that he might do the work that we have called him to do. That he might find joy in this impossible calling and that, in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


>Enjoying Flowers in the Cold of Winter

January 18, 2009

> Picture credit

2 days. In 2 days the United States will regain respect around the world.

Here are a few new features at Bessemer Opinions.

Over to the left you will see “Popular Posts You Might Want to Read.” My statcounter lets me know what you all are reading and these are the most popular pages. I will be adding more.

Also, there is a slide show of pictures. Right now there are pictures of camellias, but from time to time the pictures will change.

In My Blog List there are a couple of new links; The Western Trib, for news updates, and The Wild Reed, Thoughts and reflections from a progressive, gay, Catholic perspective.

I’m constantly trying to find ways to make Bessemer Opinions a better site (in spite of Randy’s comment yesterday, “Can anyone find a way to do away with this pathetic blog.”)

That’s not gonna happen, so don’t worry.

Two days ago our fountain was frozen and when the sun came out in the afternoon it just glistened. (It looks like David might have been a little chilly,too.) Last year the fish survived the freezing. It’ll be a day or two before I know.

Recall I said that the camellias bloom all winter, but that freezing temps would kill the blooms that are open. So I rescued a few of the flowers before the big freeze. We will enjoy these for a few days indoors, and by the time they fade, more flowers should be opening outdoors.

>Living Like Jesus, Voting for Obama

January 17, 2009

> Picture credit :

3 Days. In three days our country begins its recovery.

This picture is of Tai Shan, a panda at the Smithsonian Zoo, celebrating his third birthday earlier this year. The fruit circle, cut to make the numeral, is made of water and gelatin. Tai Shan is the first surviving panda born at the zoo, and still lives with his parents in the National Zoo Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat. If you are going to Washington over the next few days, maybe you can visit Tai Shan.

Rev. Ed Dobson made pledge to live for a year like Jesus (Story). Dobson was one of the founders of the Moral Majority in the 1980’s, now he is vice president for spiritual formation at Cornerstone University.

“The one-time architect of the religious right is in hot water with some conservatives over his statement that living like Jesus during 2008 influenced him to vote for Barack Obama — his first presidential vote for a Democrat.”

Dobson acknowledged he has been criticized for linking his Obama vote to Jesus. While disagreeing with Obama on abortion, Dobson said the Democrat was closest to the spirit of Jesus’ teachings of compassion and peace.”

And while we are on the subject of compassion and peace, how about Kay Warren, the “purpose-driven wife” of now-controversial pastor Rick Warren, reminding us of this:

She spoke at Judson college in Marion, AL, and praised Obama for leading the way on HIV testing. She compared today’s AIDS epidemic to the biblical references to leprosy.

“I challenge you to find anyplace in the Bible where Jesus asks how someone became sick,” she said.

Warren, or Jesus for that matter, was not concerned about people’s “lifestyles,” to use a divisive term not used in his day. He cared about ministering, healing, bringing the downtrodden and the outcasts into the fold.

If only more of the churches that claim to follow Jesus would actually do so. You’ve got your angry, judgemental philosophy (and God) or your compassionate, loving philosophy (or God).

I will choose to follow the one Ed Dobson is following this year. The loving, compassionate One.

>Oh…4 more days

January 16, 2009

> Picture Credit Vicious Delicious

I forgot to include this.

4 Days. Then America can celebrate.

>Inaugural Festivities

January 13, 2009


Seven. The number of days left until we have a new direction for our country. Jackpot!!!

The inauguration is on Tuesday, but the festivities start Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial.

I wonder what this man would be thinking.

I think I know.

I wonder what this man will be saying.

Well I don’t know the words he will be using, but as Bishop Gene Robinson opens the inaugural festivities with a prayer, I know that a feeling of hope, of inclusion, and of promise will be heard by all. The festivities will be taped and broadcast for free on HBO Sunday evening (6 – 8 Central time). Of course, I’m not sure the 2 hour broadcast will include the prayer, but I assume it will. Free, for all Americans (that have cable or satellite).

Robinson had this to say in an email to Episcopal Cafe:

“I am writing to tell you that President-Elect Obama and the Inaugural Committee have invited me to give the invocation at the opening event of the Inaugural Week activities, “We are One,” to be held at the Lincoln Memorial, Sunday, January 18, at 2:00 pm. It will be an enormous honor to offer prayers for the country and the new president, standing on the holy ground where the “I have a dream speech” was delivered by Dr. King, surrounded by the inspiring and reconciling words of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It is also an indication of the new president’s commitment to being the President of ALL the people. I am humbled and overjoyed at this invitation, and it will be my great honor to be there representing the Episcopal Church, the people of New Hampshire, and all of us in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.”

It’s nice to know that someone is “representing” me at the inaugural festivities. I haven’t heard anything like that from Rick Warren.

Beyonce, U2, John Legend,, Usher, Garth Brooks and a bevy of other performers will entertain.