I did not vote for Barack Obama. Technically, I voted for Mitt Romney. But, to be perfectly honest, I cast my ballot more in opposition to Obama than in support of Romney.
However, I am an American first and foremost and respect the choice of the majority of voters. With this fact in mind, I watch Monday morning's inauguration with more than a touch of awe.
This day is not a victory lap for Obama. In fact, it has very little to do with the man and everything to do with who we are, We the People. This day is a celebration of our nation, of the unprecedented place in human history we hold.
For 237 years we have watched the installation of a new or the reaffirmation of a sitting president. No other nation, place or city-state in the whole history of mankind has had the great good fortune of watching the highest officials of the land take office this many times, for this many years without ever once having that transference of power happen under the threat of or as the result of violence and bloodshed.
This remarkable, unprecedented feat is the distillation of the hope of all humanity. George Washington, our first and arguably greatest president, said it is not the inauguration of the first president that is remarkable; it is the inauguration of the second. We as a nation have managed to accomplish this peaceful passing of the baton for more than two centuries.
We can disagree, argue, debate, protest and hold diametrically opposed positions on nearly every issue, but still honor the process and respect the results of the polls. Perhaps remembering this one, simple fact, this glorious, improbable and yet somehow realized experiment called democracy is the place we need to start while we search for common ground from which to face the challenges that lay ahead.
Today, I watched my president take his Oath of Office. I didn’t vote for him nor do I have to agree with anything he says. Still, I felt pride in my country, watching this man raise his right hand. With that simple gesture, he did something no one else in human history has ever accomplished and he did not do it alone. He is our President and we are We the People. I am simply in awe.