It's been snowing here in Durham since very early this morning. Now, at 1:40 pm, it looks like it has stopped.
I'd already planned on watching the inauguration; in particular, I wanted to listen to Obama's speech; not because everyone was predicting it was going to rival some of the best speeches of newly inaugurated Presidents, rather, because I truly was interested to hear what our new President had to say. I realized, too, that I have not seen too many of these ceremonies. This due to bad timing (being on the West coast and likely at work) and, in all honesty, a bit of apathy.
I didn't think I'd end up watching quite as much of it as I did, however; I guess you can blame that on the snow and the atmosphere it brought with it (play hooky from my normal routine).
Anyway, I started paying attention around 9:30 am to the festivities. Like others, I was amazed at the number of people lining the Mall. The Kid was there somewhere; she said by the MSNBC tent mid-way down the Mall from the Lincoln Monument. I was pleased to see the diversity in the crowds; yes, a lot of people of color but also, cheering along side with them, white people as well. After all, a person does not have to be African American to recognize the significance of this historic election and inauguration (whether you like it or not, it IS significant and historic).
As usual, the inane banter and chatter of the news casters got on my nerves. Their breathless whispers of, "In a mere forty-four minutes, we will have our 44th President" or, "I am so excited I cannot breath. I cannot breath!" Ok, well, so, I've never been one to get overly caught up in drama, but this stuff was a bit over the top!
I thought it was pretty funny when they were speculating on whether the moving van in front of the White House contained Bush stuff or Obama stuff. One news caster said, "D'ya think the van is full of boxes with "Obama" written on them?" Hello? I don't think, like the rest of us when we move, that they had to label their boxes with their name on it!
When the entourage of former Presidents and their wives made their way out to the platform, one commented, "Former President Bush looks OLD!" (I thought that was a bit harsh, but, hey, give him a break, he IS old!) Another said, "Do you realize in twenty-three minutes (they appeared to get a kick out of mentioning how many minutes it would be until Obama was officially President) that we'll have TWO Former President Bushes? How will we handle that? (a good question, I thought; will we refer to the first Former President Bush as "Former President Bush the First"? or, "Former President Bush Sr."? Wow, a lot of firsts this day!)
Another said, "This ceremony is regal without the regalness" (ok, that made no sense; it's not a word, I think they meant "regality"; it still made no sense!) To which someone else replied, "Yes, and it's historical because we have 5 out of (soon to be in twelve minutes) forty-four Presidents in attendance. That's like, uh, 11% or something". Actually, come to think of it, that IS pretty amazing. Could you imagine if all five (if you include Lady Jane Grey) Tudor Kings were present when James I of England was crowned?
I thought, with the exception of President Bush (now Former President Bush Jr.), everyone looked very happy. He just looked relieved and a bit, I don't know, nervous when he was approaching the platform. Thank God those that had been somewhat booing in the background (extremely bad form) shut up. But, it was painfully quiet. I actually felt sorry for him.
I have to admit I did not listen to Rick Warren. I just couldn't bear to. I put him on mute and checked email. But, I listened and watched everything else. I loved the song compiled (not composed) by John Williams. The dumb-dumb news casters had been speculating on whether Obama was really as calm as all of that; I thought it human and telling that he stumbled a bit through his oath of office (nerves, I'm sure, and who could blame him?)
I thoroughly enjoyed his speech. I thought it well written and delivered. And although, like I said earlier, I'm not one to run to turn things such as this into my own private drama, I did feel a bit of a stirring in my heart and a bit of excitement in my veins. Perhaps I am not quite so skeptical as I would have thought. Perhaps now is not the time for any of us to be so. Maybe it is because President Obama is closer to me in age than any President before; he is of MY generation. Or, maybe it's simply amazing to see such signs of support in such here to fore unsupportive times.
I hope it lasts. Maybe I'll step out a bit and say, I think it will.