The first Black President-elect, Barack Obama, rightfully has received well deserved celebrations and laudatory acclaims. All persons, Blacks and Whites, who are knowledgeable about the Black struggle for human rights, voters' rights and school desegregation realize the triumphant accomplishment that goes with the election of the 44th President of the United States of America.
The President-elect rode to power on a well orchestrated campaign that stressed the "oneness" of America. He spoke emphatically about there not being a liberal America or a conservative America, but one America. Audiences were filled with hope and goodwill when he made statements concerning transcending race. President-elect Obama mingled with the workers of middle America, met with our veterans and took other actions that belied his "elitist" title. The campaign is over. It is now time that words are put into action and President-elect Obama demonstrate to the Nation and world that he stands firmly behind his words. What better way to do just that, than by making his first major induction to the Presidency, at the inaugural banquet, an all peoples affair.
In all seriousness, President-elect Obama could make his inaugural banquet a declaration of his sincerity, integrity and wholehearted devotion to his beliefs about equality. At that banquet table let us see Americans from all strata, races and religions. Let us see coalminers on either side of Congressional members; textile workers and migrant workers next to Senators; at least two Native Americans from each reservation sitting next to the new Secretaries. Note: Native Americans have been noticeably left out of campaign promises and are one of America's most neglected. Let sweat shop workers flank Caroline Kennedy; a couple of farmers and sharecroppers seated next to top officials of the Department of Agriculture; Nurses and domestic workers on either side of Nancy Pelosi; Arab men and the women in full purda (veils); and a family from a homeless shelter; several war veterans, disabled and with prosthesis, seated next to high officials in the Defense Department; domestic workers; school teachers sprinkled amongst invited politicians; all living members of The Little Rock Nine; and legal Mexican immigrants should be seated on both sides of Lou Dobbs. All of these invited guests at the banquet table represent the rich, middle-class and poor of the one America who campaigned, supported and voted for President-elect Obama.
As for attire, if "casual dress" is not desired, let some of the corporate executives, money moguls or super rich who helped finance President-elect Obama's campaign provide the elegant formal attire required for this historic inaugural banquet.
By now all should understand this overall message. Let this inaugural banquet be truly celebrated for, by and of the people. This inaugural banquet would be an excellent landmark event to start President-elect Obama's presidency. It would be a most memorable occasion but more importantly it would be the right thing to do–"It's time for a change."
Gloria I. Joseph, Ph.D.
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