It was just after midnight, in the early morning hours of January 20th, 2009 and I stood in the grand hall of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. The 2009 Green Inaugural Ball had been underway for several hours with thousands of swirling guests clinking glasses of wine, chomping on little bits of food on toast, and trying not to step on the long flowing ball gowns. Celebrities were lining up outside to walk in on the “Green Carpet” where a flock of paparazzi were assembled to ask them why they cared about the environment, and what sort of plug-in hybrid they drove. To say the least, it was a quite a scene.
Now when I said earlier that the choir sang, I really meant it. Members of the Agape Choir had flown from California to D.C. and were singing backup for will.i.am, a dynamic, and politically charged lyricist and frontman for the Black Eyed Peas. As they sang “it’s a new day, a new day,” I found myself thinking deeply about those words, and about all of the passion and hope that was behind them. The choir on stage was not the only group talking about how the world would change after the presidential inauguration. For weeks, I had been hearing about how things were about to be very different. As we move into the first few weeks of the new presidency, countless articles have attempted to quantify the differences between President Obama and past leaders, many of the articles bringing bold distinctions to light. But even with all of the talk about the “new day” that was dawning in America, I couldn’t help but think back to some of the comments in the previous threads of this online dialogue.