Tag Archives: Inauguration

Should Parents Allow Their Kids on Social Media?

By Mallika Chopra

Before we began “Perfectly Imperfect Parents“, I emailed my mommy friends and posted a question on Facebook, Twitter and Intentblog:

What parenting topics are most important to you today? What should we be talking about on this show?

By far, the number one response that I got back was friends asking us to discuss how parents should deal with social media. And most of the responses expressed fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about how to control their kids.

I’m sure parents of every generation feel they are dealing with trends that are ahead of what they understand or even know about, and they are overwhelmed with uncertainty. And with each generation perhaps we feel we live in more difficult times than those before us.

Social media seems to be the big theme amongst my fellow parents. Questions like: When should they get a phone? Are they on Instagram? What about Snap Chat? What are the other apps and sites out there?

Here is what’s going on in my house:

My elder daughter, Tara, is eleven years old. She has had email for a few years but is not really into it. We set it up so that she can keep in touch with her grandparents. She can only use it to email cousins, grandparents and her close friends.

She uses a computer for most of her homework already, and is more adept at searching for information and using Dropbox to download and upload her homework assignments. She already types faster than me, does better Powerpoint presentations and makes iMovies.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 12.11.25 PM
16-year-old YouTuber, Audrey Whitby, on “Perfectly Imperfect Parents”

She does not have a cell phone – perhaps half of her friends do have phones. She uses a “family” phone when she is at a non-school event alone (not at play dates, other peoples homes or classes). Every wish, every ask, is for a cell phone.

She is not allowed Instagram (the social media platform most of her friends are on), let alone Snap Chat – which I don’t think she even knows about yet. (Snap Chat really freaks me out.)

Her school says no students are allowed on Facebook or Twitter. I haven’t heard of any of her friends on those platforms.

So far, while we have proven to be a bit more conservative when it comes to social media, it hasn’t become a huge issue yet as I think half of her social circle has similar rules in their houses. But, I know we are months away from that all changing.

Sixth grade seems to be a turning point, with middle school the point of no return when it comes to social media. I have to admit when it comes to my kids, social media has been ensconced in a general aura of fear. It’s the unknown that promises to expose my kids to too much information, too much access, too many opportunities to interact with people I don’t want them to interact with.

But something happened last month (after we shot our social media episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents”) that started to take the fear away.

My husband and I were in Munich for a conference and the girls were in Washington DC with my parents for the presidential inauguration. Tara had the “family” phone and we began to text each other throughout the day.

What unfolded was an entirely new, and absolutely amazing, form of communication with my daughter. Her texts were funny, insightful, moving. My husband and I would wait to get her messages, and smile all day long as we read them. She texted us the moment President Obama took the stage at the inauguration – we could experience and share her emotions through her limited characters and words and laugh as we saw her snap and text photos of her and Leela
smiling in the freezing cold. We felt connected, engaged, so incredibly happy that we had this amazing tool to be in touch.

I realized that like the generations before us, we as parents will ultimately figure it out with our kids. There will be bumps along the road no doubt, but hopefully and optimistically we will find ourselves more connected because of technology.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents”, as well as how you deal with social media in your family. We are all very eager to learn from each other!

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Through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall: President Barack Obama’s Historic Speech

Getty Images

Today President Barack Obama was sworn into his second term as President of the United States, 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched to Washington and delivered his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. His inaugural address was historic and moving. Here is a part that particularly moved us to tears:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. 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.

With this speech President Obama became the first President to mention gay rights in his inaugural address to the nation. By mentioning Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall, he links our struggle for women’s rights and civil rights to those of gay rights, the battle of our time. He also reminds us that our journey is not complete, we have quite way to go.

How Quickly We Adapt: The Case of Obama

 On January 4, 2008, the day after Barack Obama stunningly and handily defeated John Edwards and Hillary Clinton in the Iowa Caucuses, I was delighted to read the following in a column by every liberal’s favorite conservative, David Brooks: "You’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel moved by this," he wrote, setting aside political ideology and party preference. "An African-American man wins a closely fought campaign in a pivotal state…This is a huge moment."

Do you remember what that felt like – the moment you realized that an African-American candidate, peddling hope and change, had a bona fide shot at winning the White House? Notwithstanding your party affiliation – was that not electrifying?

And if you happened to be an Obama supporter – do you recall the exhilaration of the mounting successes of his presidential campaign and the ultimate thrill of Obama winning? Were you so moved by the Inauguration that you cried?Millions of us were. Yet how quickly we forget.

If you’re crying now, it’s probably because you’ve lost your job or your kid is ill or you spilled soda on your laptop.

If you’re happy now, perhaps it’s because you’re falling in love or your favorite baseball team just won or you got upgraded to first class.

Psychological scientists have discovered that the impact of positive events – no matter how wonderful or life changing – fades over time. Through a process called hedonic adaptation, our joy and pride at Obama’s inauguration decline more and more each day, and are replaced by quotidian concerns – parking problems, spats with coworkers, delicious dinners, and stolen kisses. Moreover, day by day, we grow more and more accustomed to the presence of an African-American president in the White House, while our aspirations for him and his administration steadily rise, perhaps unrealistically so. Now, his presidency today is simply a given, and our wonder at his achievement is replaced by frustrations as to where he may be going wrong and our belief that we know how he can be a more effective president. And if we already value him as a strong and visionary leader, then our aspirations rise yet higher. We may think: OK, he’s been good – but why can’t he be great?

Because of hedonic adaptation, we are no longer awed by the election of 2008. Instead, we’re jaded. But although it would be pleasant to savor once again that sense of awe and thrill – which sometimes does return, if only fleetingly – our human capacity to get used to things is undeniably adaptive. If we didn’t become accustomed to positive changes in the world – if we didn’t continually raise our aspirations – our success as individuals, as communities, and as a great nation would be severely limited. We may lose the awe and thrill but, in return, we get to preserve and reinforce the motivation to form a more perfect union.




Let’s shift the ground beneath the cynics, the greedy, the powerful

Obama said it. Now Forbes is saying it: the wost is yet to come. The fact is, we haven’t seen nothing yet when it comes to our economic downturn.

So, why am I optimistic?

One thing is because in situations like these, when what we take for granted fails us, there occurs a window of opportunity where people are open to new ideas, new ways of doing things. Several times in his inaugural address, President Obama alluded to this.

The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift. And we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth… …What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

These words combined with the economic condition we face represent an unprecedented opportunity for those with the insight and daring to do it differently – in our national economy, in our workplaces, in our relationships and in our personal lives. As we respond in disgust at greed-oriented, clueless corporate executives intent on business as usual and preserving the status quo, we have the opportunity to shift the ground beneath them and create something that will support connections between all people, yes, even those who lavish themselves with French executive jets and thousand-dollar wastepaper baskets.

For, remember what a dynamic Spiritual Leader once said long ago: "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

It is fitting that our financial downturn hit us in full in the winter. For winter is a time to turn energies inward, to store that energy and build up our reserves for the coming spring. Our economic winter may last well beyond the coming of the spring, but its duration and severity allows us to look deeply into our hearts and souls and ask: is there a way we can do things differently that offers a more promising future?

I say there is…

How Wonderful to be Alive “At This Defining Moment”

“People should select as king one among them who is knowledgeable, strong and will be able to guide people and enforce the laws of justice.”


“O mighty, glorious king, help your subjects to progress and make them capable of doing great deeds.”


~ Sukla Yajur Veda, Chapter 6


I just finished watching the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama, and I can’t even describe how moved, touched, awed, and inspired I’m feeling. I’ve been shedding tears all day, getting choked up every time I see the images of all those beautiful, smiling American faces of every color and creed, all calling out in unison to their new president.


This is such a special, rare and unique moment in history, and I wonder if we have truly grasped its import. Of course, there are many levels of significance to Obama’s ascendance. He represents the victory of unity over division, of optimism over cynicism, of common human decency over political backbiting, of sincerity over smarminess and snarkiness. He embodies in his genes, in his very being, the unity of many cultures, races, and perspectives. And of course, he represents an important step in the healing of a deep and traumatic wound in our nation’s soul—the wound of slavery, inhuman torture, and the denial of humanity of an entire race. African slaves helped build the White House, and then they were servants in the White House. Now, at long last, a man of African descent, with the middle name “Hussein,” will serve as President in that same White House. In this, America has achieved something truly great, something which inspires and impresses people around the world.


The Unseen Scars of a Legacy of Slavery


As a seeker in the Hindu tradition, I believe that all of our actions, thoughts and feelings carry an energetic charge. The emotional and moral qualities of our actions are transmitted in the form of subtle vibrations. Since we are constantly radiating these energetic vibrations, our surroundings become saturated with the energy of our most intense thoughts and feelings. Although I believe that America is a wonderful country founded on noble ideals, many unfortunate atrocities have taken place in our land, and the land has absorbed the heavy negative energy of these tragedies. This energy then acts as a magnet and instigator for further acts of hatred and violence.


The intense and prolonged suffering of slaves has certainly haunted our nation for centuries. The unspeakable torture and mistreatment of slaves has left its destructive energetic imprint on race relations. But what I feel now is that a huge amount of this energy has been lifted from our shoulders and released from our country. Through the powerful forces of unity and selfless service unleashed by Obama’s campaign, great opportunities have opened up for healing and true progress.


A Confluence of Forces Both Worldly and Divine


How has this happened? How is it that we find ourselves face to face with history “at this defining moment?” There has been a remarkable confluence of events, as well as philosophical and political trends. Barack Obama himself has clearly been on a journey since his birth, a journey of self-understanding and a journey of growth through selfless service. The American people have certainly thought long and hard these last eight years about what our position in the world is meant to be. There has been a most incredible synergy between Obama and his supporters, and I’ve watched as a tidal wave of hope, inspiration and courage has swept the nation.


Underneath all these external trends that one can see openly, there have also been vast shifts in energy and consciousness. Many spiritual leaders today talk about the idea of a rebirth in world consciousness that will happen in the near future. Many may be aware of the Mayan calendar, and how it “resets” in December of 2012. Although some believe this indicates the end of the world, most mature spiritual leaders say that it indicates the end of the world as we know it. Meaning, there will be an opportunity for tremendous transformation.


Many holy people in Hindu, Buddhist, and New Age traditions have commented that our planet will experience great difficulties during the years leading up to 2012, but that after this time, things will gradually begin to improve. The tide will have turned, and a new golden era of peace will become possible. It’s not that everything will suddenly turn to sunshine and rainbows, but there will be a new awareness, and new possibilities for peace and spiritual growth.


Ever since I first saw Obama four years ago, when he gave his United States of America speech, I felt a sense of inexplicable excitement and anticipation. Watching this campaign over the past two years, I have grown more and more certain that Obama had a special role to play in the difficult years to come. During his speeches, I often feel a tremendous flow of energy pouring into my crown chakra, a stream of purifying and inspiring energy that seems ready to flood our nation and the world. I believe that there are unseen subtle forces all around us, and these divine forces are always ready to assist humanity. We can shut these forces out through our actions and beliefs, or we can invite them into our hearts. It seems abundantly clear to me that these forces are working through Barack Obama to help heal and uplift humanity.


A Vedic King for the Twenty-First Century


As I watched Obama walk through the Capitol before appearing in front of the crowd on Washington mall, his expression seemed humbled, awed, and almost subdued. Yet there was a palpable glow coming from him, as if divine energy was being poured into him, preparing him for the great task ahead.


In ancient India, whenever new kings were crowned, elaborate ceremonies were performed, and the most important of these was the “abhishekam.” This consists of the pouring of various auspicious substances over the head of the new king and queen. Scented water, milk, turmeric water, flowers and so on would all be poured over the king, symbolizing the descent of divine authority and energy into the king’s mind and heart. Since kings had to perform important duties that would impact many people’s happiness and welfare, it was vital that he receive divine blessings before undertaking such a sacred task.


In my view, it was almost like an unseen abhishekam took place before Obama’s inauguration, a subtle divine blessing to help him in his sacred purpose of unification and international healing. Now, I’m not saying that everything will go perfectly from now on. Undoubtedly, Obama will make mistakes. There will be failures and setbacks, as Obama himself has warned. But it’s clear to me that we will at least be traveling on the right path in the right direction.


Through most of my life, I’ve felt somewhat out of place here in America. As a child, I had the odd sense that I was somehow born in the wrong country, or at least the wrong century. I always felt that when I “grew up” I would live in some other place, a more ancient place like Europe or Asia. Now, for the first time in my life, I feel as if I actually belong in America, and that this is a good home for me. For the first time I feel proud to be an American, grateful for the freedom I have to pursue my spiritual path, and truly excited to be alive “at this defining moment.”


“Yes We Can, and Yes We Will!”

~ The American People

President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address

Following is the transcript of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address, as transcribed by The New York Times:

Thank you, thank you.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply.

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.

And those of us who manage the public’s knowledge will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched.

But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.

Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

And so, to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy, guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We’ll begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard- earned peace in Afghanistan.

With old friends and former foes, we’ll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life nor will we waver in its defense.

And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service: a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.

And yet, at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.

It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break; the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.

It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old.

These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence: the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall. And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day in remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.

In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by nine campfires on the shores of an icy river.

The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood.

At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come; let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you.

And God bless the United States of America.

Obam is in; makes a historic speech

Obama has been inaugurated. He made a speech that will go down in history along side the speeches of Abraham Lincoln (whose Bible he took the Presidential Oath upon), John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and others whose speeches will become a standard part of the next generation of political textbooks.

My good friend from Taiwan watched it with me on TV, and already 20 minutes after the speech, there was a Taiwanese translation on the internet for her, which she is now reading.

This means that the audience for Obama’s inauguration was not simply the 2 million who gathered in DC, nor was it the who knows how many millions (100?) who followed along in America, but that it was watched across the globe. I would be willing to bet that 1 billion people would not be an unrealistic estimate of the number of people who will, or have already, seen this speech today, in hundreds of different languages, most likely in over 100 nations.

And he lived up to it. capitalizing on one the main skills that got him elected – his ability to deeply move people by giving eloquent, intelligent, emotional speeches that speak directly to their dreams, hopes, and fears.

In short, he hit a home run today.

My reaction? Like the billions around the globe, I see that he has elucidated the problems, and tapped into a powerful intention of not only Americans, but people across the globe, to address the situations we find ourselves in today, and to "fight the good fight" to solve these issues and create a better, more peaceful, more prosperous, and above all, more free and just world for ourselves.

I hope his convictions are as deep as the speech indicates they are, that he himself will not cave into politcal conveniences or even strong-arm tactics by those who are invested in the old structures that we have to change.

Of coure (and I hate to say this, but it must be said) I hope that he is niot subject to the same fate as JFK, MLK, or RFK in the 1960s, that he takes his security utmost seriously and does not pull a "Benazir Bhutto" moment on us and expose himself in the giddiness of the moment to his enemies.

His speech set the tone and agenda. I hope he himself remains true to that vision, and he has 100%-plus my support as long as he does so.

Beyond that, I hope that even in the face of more challenges, Americans have found (or I should say found again) a root of common cause and will "fight the good fight" by standing to together and supporting each other’s rights to liberty, life, and freedom, and yes, the pursuit of happiness, regardless of our politics, our race, our religion, our social status or any of the other false separations that the forces of greed and cynicism seek to exploit.

We have witnessed a major accomplishment for our country.

Now the real work of fulfilling that vision begins.

American Renewal

As I watched the ritual of the Inauguration unfolding in the last few days, beginning with the laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown to the speech that President-elect Barack Obama gave at the Lincoln Memorial, a sense of history and excitement came over me. I would have loved to be there personally, but I am just as thrilled to watch the scenes and the people from my TV screen.

The speech that President-elect Barack Obama gave at the Lincoln Memorial was inspiring like many of his speeches are. A couple of lines in his speech stood out for me: "…if we could just recognize ourselves in one another." I think that would be a great start if we could do just that.

Another phrase that stayed with me was: "…It is this thread that binds us together in common effort;…" What is this thread that binds us?

Today, I watched the powerful "I have a dream" speech of Martin Luther King that he gave in 1963. Again, I’m inspired…

Tomorrow, as the excitement continues, Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States of America. I am so happy for him and for America, as I am excited and hopeful and eager for the change and renewal.


Mallika Chopra: Super Excited about Obama History

I have to admit.  I am super excited…

Tomorrow is a historic day.  I will be with my girls at Tara’s school to celebrate the inauguration of President Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America.

As I write this post, my husband and I are watching the recording of the concert at Lincoln Memorial on HBO.

What’s so amazing about this moment in history is my personal excitement – that excitement that so many millions of others around the world possess.  Its quite remarkable!

Truly it feels like a dream uttered so many years ago has truly been realized!!

Inaugural Mama: How Michelle Obama could change Motherhood in America

On the day of President Obama’s inauguration, when everyone in the world is eagerly anticipating stirring speeches and sparkly dresses, I can’t stop thinking about the First children—Malia Ann and Sasha Obama. 

Here’s what I’m thinking: How can these two beautiful girls have a chance at being happy and balanced adults given their prominent role in American history?  After all, they’re the offspring of America’s first black president, and it’s a big load to shoulder when you’re 8 and 10 years old.

I’ve been racking my brains for the past week trying to figure out what these children need most in the coming years, and the only answer I can stand behind is this: Their mother. 

This conclusion goes against every grain in my feminist body.  I’ve been taught to be a strong woman. An independent woman.  I’ve internalized the notion that I can and should aspire to a successful career.  I believe that women can be great and powerful leaders.  And still, what I want Michelle Obama to accomplish in the next four years is to be a great mother to Malia and Sasha.

Should I bite my tongue and join the chorus of women who say that Michelle Obama can be as transformative and effective in the White House as her husband? Should I support her right to be anything she chooses—from doting mother to the pioneer of policy reforms?

But the truth is that what I want Michelle Obama to do in the White House is to be the “Mother of all mamas.”  I want her show that world that American women don’t always choose work over family.  I want her remind us that being present for our children when they come home from school really counts.  I want her to urge Malia and Sasha not to ride on the coattails of their family’s success, but to struggle to figure out their own unique role in the world.

And most of all, I want her to explain that although their father was elected President, we still have to work towards the day when a woman holds that same title.

In short, I want Michelle Obama to be a great parent.  Because we already know that she was a great lawyer and could achieve success in the working world again.  But for once, I want to see a woman in the White House who can do just about anything, and still chooses to be a mother.

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