Inauguration Day

- 3 mins

I wrote this at 1AM tonight, unable to sleep. Awake and wondering just how much is about to change in the coming hours and how that will impact the future’s of my friends and families, but most importantly, how it will affect the upcoming generation.

January 20, 2009

Obama

8 years ago, back in the 6th grade, I distinctly remember January 21, 2009. My entire middle school was gathered into the tiny gym and we were to watch the first black president take an oath and become the leader of the free world. I remember the fumble during the oath. I remember it like it was yesterday. “Supreme Court Justice John Roberts accidentally reworded the oath ever so slightly, saying “execute the Office of President to the United States faithfully” instead of “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States.” The mistake was simple and Obama paused and smiled, seemingly aware of the mistake. He gave Mr.Roberts a chance to correct himself, but the judge put faithfully in the right place and left out the word ‘execute’. Obama followed Mr.Roberts’ first incorrect version, before proceeding to finish the oath. I don’t know why that specific moment sticks out the most. Perhaps it’s Obama’s ability to hold his ground despite the error or maybe his class shining through by the way he handled the small mistake. Whatever it is, it been a moment that’s stuck with me for 8 years.

I didn’t understand at that time why it was so important for me as a young 12 maybe 13 year old Canadian to witness the Inauguration live but I’m glad I was able to.

I watched the Democratic National Convention and like many others, was completely inspired by Michelle Obama’s words, “With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls, but the children across this country…

The 8 years Obamas were in office, I graduated middle school, high school and started my university chapter. The 8 years Obamas were in office, I admired policies designed to help the poor and middle class, support science, provide open access to government data records, target children’s health and education among many other things. The 8 years Obamas were in office, I watched their speeches, wrote reports about their policies, observed them remain poised throughout criticism, and felt empowered knowing that “when they go low, we go high”.

It’s true what they say, you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. Without realizing it, I genuinely look up to the Obamas and words cannot fathom how much they have shaped my leadership and values.

January 20, 2017

Trump

I’ve refrained from commenting on American politics but my heart breaks a little bit today.

My sister’s in my 2009 shoes and I’m a little heartbroken she won’t get to witness the first woman take an oath and become a leader of the free world. I’m a heartbroken knowing a racist, bigoted, narcissistic man backed by nazi’s, and self-centered white supremacists will become the leader of the free world. I’m heartbroken she won’t have a leader with the appropriate skills, principles and morals to look up to.

But that sorrow lasts only short moments before realization sets in. Realization of what I’ve been tasked with. What all of us have been handed the responsibility of. Raising our brothers, sisters and siblings with the right values. Raising them to stand up for what’s wrong, teaching them to believe in their dreams and most importantly when they go low, we go high.

Purnima Mehta

Purnima Mehta

a software developer writing and breaking code

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