Friday, January 23, 2009

Thoughts on the Inauguration

On Monday night, the 19th, I watched Charlie Rose. He was hosting a roundtable discussion with Katy Kay from the BBC and James Clyburn, D-SC among others. They discussed alot of pertinent topics, but two comments in particular stuck in my mind. James Clyburn was a civil rights activist at the same time as Martin Luther King Jr. His standout comment, one of several (but the only one I jotted down), "I did it so my children wouldn't have to." I think this was originally in reference to whether or not old line activists try to hold back younger up and coming politicians. No matter the original intent of his words, doesn't everyone want to smoothe the way for their children? Some Americans have a harder path to follow than others' though.

The other outstanding comment came from Katy Kay. The discussion had moved to Obama's potential foreign diplomacy efforts. Ms. Kay said (paraphrasing) that in her opinion Europe will have a more difficult time refusing Obama's requests because of his popularity & simply because he isn't George W. Bush. I hope we get better cooperation with our neighbors. We can't do it all on our own- no one exists in a vacuum. In the arena of foreign affairs the US has huge problems, entrenched problems. We're going to need all of the goodwill and assitance we can get. I just hope Obama doesn't squander it like Bush did after 9/11.

Onward to Tuesday~

I jotted a few notes while I watched the live coverage. I spent most of the time wiping my eyes & blowing my nose though. I camped out on the couch with plenty of coffee and tissues and surrounded myself with my little family. Hubby was most interested in the speech as opposed to the swearing in. Pianist, our youngest at 13, in what I consider to be the most hopeful comment yet, said "I just don't get what all the fuss is about." He's not insensitive, but I hope his question is a sign for the future. A sign that the youngest ones view racial intergation as the norm, not as an historic turning point. If wishes were horses, I really want a woman up there soon.

I think the screw up of the swearing in will be bandied about by extremists of all stripes, unfortunately. :( It was the one thing that brought me down, really- other than the fact that the actual work is only beginning. Awful people will surely use the screw up against the Administration & Obama in particular. An aside to the internet rumors that Obama wouldn't take the oath on a bible, I saw a close up photo of the President's hand on Lincoln's bible held by Mrs. Obama. I've hunted for the photo on the FT website and can't find it, but I bought the print edition and it was in there.

I liked all of the historic flags hanging off the Capitol building. I was amazed to see all of the people out on the Mall despite the aching cold. The local tv stations had inundated us with huge amounts of info on temps and road closures and security gates and restrictions and on and on and on. So we stayed home. Anyhow- I loved Mrs. Obama's matching dress and coat and the girls' outfits were cute and classic and feminine. We all got a kick out of the fact that Bush had to sit there and listen to Obama repudiate much of what the Bush administration stood for.

The poem was similar to the speech, I think. Uplifting and matching the tone of the day, yet also mentioning the degree of work to be done in the future. Ms. Alexander mentions that we are walking into that which we cannot see. And best of all she said, "we encounter each other in words.." A phrase that warms this booklover's heart.

I don't remember who kept saying it, or which channel he was on, but some older guy continually repeated how he thought the speech was average, not going to be a standout in history, nothing new, etc, etc. I found him to be very annoying to tell you the truth. I though the speech was fabulous. A call to action, a call to begin the hard work ahead. The times require us all to sacrifice, to work hard. The time to put off unpleasant decisions has passed. Best of everything, the mess we are in is due to the

..the collective failure to make hard decisions..

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