There is always light
Yesterday, January 20, 2021 at 12:30 pm Eastern Time the 21st century began. It began in Washington DC and it began with poet Amanda Gorman and her poem "The Hill We Climb".
Of course, the fireworks with which we party-drunkenly greeted this century actually was already ignited 20 years ago. Since then, the first Internet bubble has burst, the second wave has proved to be an insidious catalyst mainly for human wickedness, a financial system has imploded, dragging countless people into misery and resurrecting as if nothing had happened. Several cascades and generations of terrorists of various ideologies have descended upon the globe, at one end of Europe armed conquests have again become possible, only that they are not called that, while at the other end the greatest peace project of all times almost broke down due to its inability to show solidarity, and finally a deadly pandemic has spread across humanity, which basically everyone knew was coming, but for which ultimately no one was quite prepared.
So you can't really say there was nothing going on in those first 20 years of the 3rd millennium, can you? And yet, looking back - let's say from the year 2121 - one will recognize the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States and especially that poetry lecture as a milestone, where for the first time the world of the 21st century manifested itself for all the world to see.
A world in which a woman of African-American and Asian-American descent becomes Vice President of the United States, arriving with her husband and their patchwork family for the inauguration, where she was administered the oath of office by the first Hispanic woman justice on the Supreme Court.
A world in which a black pastor, with a fiery timbre in his voice, offers the concluding prayer for this ceremony, which is attended, among others, by the future Secretary of Transportation of the country, naturally together with his husband.
A world in which three former presidents - one black, two white, one Republican, two Democrats - philosophize together about the peaceful transfer of power and wish the new president well and pledge their support.
A world in which the new First Lady holds a doctorate and will continue to teach while her husband rules the country, and in which an Italian-born pop singer, the most successful country star of all time, and a Latina diva performed at the presidential inauguration, the latter shouting to the audience in Spanish "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" after singing "This Land is Your Land."
And finally, a world in which the black, 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman captures the feelings of millions of people around the world with her words and records them for eternity. In a rich yellow coat, she looks like a poem herself, while she competes with the sun in the blue sky, so emotional and at the same time so self-confident that hardly anyone doubts her intention to run for president herself in 2036, as she has stated beforehand.
In that distant year 2121, it will be known whether this candidacy will be crowned with success and it will be remembered as one candidacy among many. Because in the year 2121 one will not pay much attention to the sex, the complexion, the origin or the religion of a candidate. No matter whether it is a candidacy for the most powerful state office or for a judgeship, an application for a leadership position or for the chairmanship of an honorary committee.
What seems to be strikingly new in 2021 will for sure be considered the norm in a hundred years from now, maybe even sooner.
But one will also remember in the year 2121 that this was not always the case. One will remember what a milestone this lecture of Amanda Gorman was, what pain and how much unrest preceded it and would still follow for quite a long time.
Who knows, perhaps in 2121 her moving words will be chosen as the anthem of the United Nations. It would be an appropriate choice. In any case, they will be and should be remembered:
„For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.“