Inaugural Impressions

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I just realized that I formatted my last post wrong... but that's ok!
I am still riding the high of excitement from yesterday and this morning. Watching the inauguration on TV was the culmination of all our expectations in one singular moment. It didn't matter that he stumbled on his oath, he was completely and totally our president. I almost started crying at multiple points - particularly when there was music [told you I was a softie...]
It was a historical moment for Americans and particularly myself today. I think I realized that I'm actually proud to be an American today. Before this day, I could savagely berate our country without a thought; there was simply no redeeming value to our deprived ignorant society. I know that Obama really doesn't change the situation of many Americans, but I believe that it is better to look forward rather than back. Optimism does not sprout easily from my thought process, but there are some days that I just want to jump for joy in the knowledge that we are humans! We are alive! [and I guess it's a lie that optimism does not breed from me - I've been trying to see the light in humanity for this year and I think yoga has allowed me to succeed]
It seems odd, now that I think about it, that my writing experiment was speaking on how "dead" people... hmm. Internal thought processes? Freud's 'ego' trying to poke out? I don't know.
The memory of this day is really unimportant, but it's one of those moments where I feel I should document every mundane smell, sound and sight that I have experienced leading up to the point so... here it goes.

The tense anticipation of the first period bell about to ring. We are standing at the door, slipping through it's magic portal, Marine and I mutual escapees. The computers failed elegantly during first period, so the time was spent watching presidential cars roll onto the Mall streets and the visions panning outward to show the 3 million or more people crowding into aisles and causeways, lawns and apartment steps in the 30 degree weather of Washington D.C.
Some believe that today was a gregarious celebration amidst an economic crisis and a wartime situation, but you couldn't tell that to the flag bearers who proudly ushered in the various historical American flags outside the Capitol Building. The Mall gushes with people and iconic scenery - I am bursting to catch a glimpse of Charlotte waving and shouting among the cheering flag-waving tide of Americans undulating over Capitol Hill.
Marine and I scoot into seats in Becker's room, eyeing the television for any sign of change. The bells are ringing with a muted awareness of this auspicious day; there is a tumult of people crowding in with smiles and laughter - and even some criticism. But today it just makes me laugh. I am ready to take on your jeers today, America, you won't catch me looking somber today!
When the speeches begin, the crowd goes silent. We are hesitant to applaud an event that crosses time zones, but the warbling of Aretha Franklin makes tears prick at my eyelids. I take a deep breath. Joe Biden, calm and collected, is inaugurated first - becoming the President for just a few minutes as they transition from Bush to Obama. One second and the halls of power are seriously rocked. No longer has he the power to wave a hand and command the troops, no longer can he make decisions and snicker them off at a press conference the next day.
Obama steps out onto his pavilion; my eyes are riveted to that calm face. He is nervous, no doubt, finding himself in the most powerful position offered in this country - and perhaps in the world. We are all shivering for him together, thinking we would "tag out" if we were him. Just let someone else be the President for this daunting oath-taking.
The speech washes over us all with the immensity that was proposed: an articulate twenty minutes passes as we wonder how we are going to solve America's problems. President Obama is no preacher, he lays out the plan with few poetics, but great elegance. We are here to change the world - and we will.
The chatter won't stop for days. We are ready to face the world, America. We have overcome.

By the way, the picture above is of a powerful speaking man at the MLK rally that I felt could have been a stand-in for Obama if he were ready to take on the political sphere. Go Nguyen!

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