Being There (Part I)
Yes, I was. Yes, he did. Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!
As my friend, Mr. Lung, mentioned yesterday, I was indeed present at the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. And honestly, the only way I can describe the event is by comparing it to an early (or possibly late, although I have no experience with that) season baseball game. You know the kind of game I’m talking about, where you think you’re wearing plenty of layers but you figure out 30 minutes into it that you will never be warm again. But at the same time, you don’t care about a couple of numb fingers and toes because moments like this don’t come along every day.
Even now, I’m trying to sort through all the emotions that come along with an occasion like this. Of course there’s pride in knowing that for all our faults as a nation we always find a way to overcome them. And there’s hope, echoed in the words of the inaugural address, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.” There’s also a little bit of uncertainty because, let’s face it, these are not easy times in which we live and, as the President said, we all share in a “collective failure to make hard choices.”
But I guess what I feel most of all right now is relief. Relief that the unwashed hordes will soon leave my city. Relief that almost all disasters were averted. And relief that the stewardship of the country has passed into the hands of President Obama and his team.
At the same time, there were also events that left me conflicted. I freely admit that I am no fan of former President Bush and I’m sure I’ve written many scathing criticisms of him in these pages. But, the man was still our democratically elected President and because of that he deserves respect. Perhaps his opinions and his decisions don’t always deserve respect but the man and the office do. That’s why it left me a little unsettled today to hear people booing whenever President Bush’s face was shown on the screens. I understand the atmosphere and I understand the strong feelings. But, even if the inauguration felt like a sporting event and even if President Obama is the Michael Jordan of politics, there’s no excuse for booing his competition.
So, there you have my initial, unvarnished thoughts. And I’ll bring you more along with a roundup of the absolutely ridiculous coronation, uh, I mean concert I attended on Sunday.