When we talk about “making progress”, we usually think about being in a crappy place and moving toward something better. Like when George H. W. Bush was in the hospital with pneumonia, they kept saying that he was making progress. Or when congress argues for weeks and months about whether they should continue to freeze my pay, they say that they’re making progress. Or when an alcoholic stays sober for one day, they say that’s making progress. Or when a chunky girl keeps showing up at Mysore Ashtanga yoga, morning after morning, that’s making progress.
But my favorite examples of progress were from today’s inauguration – not counting when Michelle Obama rolled her eyes at John Boehner. When the POTUS included Stonewall in the same sentence as Seneca Falls and Selma, I’d say that’s making progress. And when the inaugural poet is a gay, Latino, immigrant, I’d say that’s making progress.
And one of my favorite Obama quotes of the day paints a vivid picture of how while we may not all agree on how to make progress, we must still act:
“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm. That is our generation’s task, to make these works, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle century’s long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time”
And as of today, on the 2nd inauguration of our 44th President, I too have joined the progressive movement. Yes, it’s true. After the eye doctor dilated my eyes and examined me, he determined that it was time for me to enjoy my first pair of progressive lenses.
No matter how we see things in the future, I hope that we will continue to make progress. We’re not in it alone.
Excerpt from “One Today” by Richard Blanco – If you’ve not had a chance to hear or read the full text, you are in for a treat.
“One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows…”