Wednesday, January 21, 2009

one for the ages

i've been in a few crowds in my day. football games at the swamp tend to have more than a few die hards among the faithful. rush hour traffic on the beltway. fire drills at school. the only difference is that all of the above happen week in, week out; day in, day out; or month after brake-gas-brake-gas month.

an inauguration of a new president occurs only quadrennially. people can't get used to it because their memories fade, and rarely was it so highly attended as yesterday's hullaballoo surrounding our new 44th president. the peaceful transfer of power between two diametrically opposite leaders is rarely, if ever, accomplished in all but a few of the countries on earth.

for a large portion of the crowd, this meant more to them than just a new president. this was more than a young, charismatic new president replacing a curmudgeonly, reclusive, widely reviled old president. this was a sense of triumph. a sense of satisfaction. the highest office in the land finally attained, now the rest of the gaps in our country's history of exclusion and segregation and discrimination can finally begin to be filled in. it was really moving to see women in their 60s, braving the cold with us young folks, for the chance to see something that they'd never have dreamt of as children. to see the chests of old black men swell with pride at seeing barack put his hand on lincoln's bible and take the oath of office.

hearing the chatter around me afterwards, it really hit home how inclusive his administration can be and the sense of pride, regardless of race, that all felt walking around the district yesterday.

"i really liked that he included nonbelievers."
"he wants to bring science back into government."
"he wants to end sectarian politics."

jaded and cynical as i am about politics in general, i can't help but think that a lot of the soaring rhetoric and ideals embodied in his speech yesterday were jabs at the past administration. with bush sitting nearby, the camera panned to him at each of those talking points; he sat emotionless and silent. just as i suspect he'll be from here on out.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Nicely put Mr. J.

While I didn't get down to the mall (thanks to work), I had one of the stranger days as a resident of this city. I'll be writing about it shortly.