Beliefnet
Progressive Revival

For four years, I’ve been driving around with one of those
“01/20/09” stickers on the back of my car.   However, with the exception of election night and the
inauguration, I haven’t really, truly believed
that there has been a change in the White House–there have been way too
many painful challenges left over from the Bush administration to rejoice and believe in the change.  I’ve felt like a political doubting
Thomas.  For weeks, I’ve been
wondering, “Will this really work? 
Can the president really change the direction of the country?”

But today–Easter Monday 2009–I had a conversion
experience. 

Today’s news carried a host of stories about the Obama
administration.  Two serious pieces
of news: first, that Cuba will be opened for travel and trade and second, that
the President stood up to pirates without sounding like a cowboy.  But the smaller stories were perhaps even
more interesting–a Kennedy puppy is now part of the First Family, Michelle
Obama’s organic garden has caused a run on seeds this spring, and the traditional
egg roll brought tens of thousands of regular people–including gay and lesbian
families–to the aptly named “Come Out and Play” Easter celebration at the White
House.   Just when I thought
nothing else could surprise me, MSNBC reported that the day’s Easter events
included a group of yoga instructors sharing their practice on the White House
lawn.

In other words, in a single sweeping day, we witnessed the
first step toward normalized relations with Cuba, a successful military
operation by a Democratic president, a Kennedy in the White House, a political
advance for the real food movement, and social and religious inclusion hitherto
unheard of at America’s house.  It
is a stunning expression of the progressive political, social, and religious
agenda that millions of us hoped for in electing President Obama.

A month before the election, a young friend of mine assured
me that it “didn’t matter” which candidate one voted for–that Republicans and
Democrats are both alike.  I’d like
to submit that Easter Monday 2009 disproves this contention.  Things are different.  The Bushes are no longer in Washington;
neo-conservatism is O-U-T; the religious right is in disarray.  We live in a post-01/20/09 world.  

On this Easter Monday, the words of the ancient Easter hymn
keeping running through my head: 
“The strife is o’er, the battle done.”  OK, that may be too optimistic when it comes to
politics.  There’s a lot of work–a lot of work–to
do.  But on this day, it is change
that I can believe in–because I’ve now seen it with my own eyes.   I’m doubting Thomas no
longer. 

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