Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"A New Era of Responsibility"

The inaugural ceremonies today took a little longer than usual, due to the huge crowds and the even more massive security concerns of the day, but it was worth the wait. We had the procession of past presidents and their wives, 5 in all, and who got the best response from the crowd? The Clintons. The worst reception was for Dan Quayle and of course, Dubya.

The band started playing as loudly as they could to try to drown out the chants of "hey, hey, hey, goodbye," and "no more Bush." After that, silence.

I must say that Michelle Obama looked gorgeous in the citris spring green sparkly outfit created for her by Isabel Toledo, and the girls, Malia and Sasha were so cute and self-possessed for their age. It can't be easy to be a kid sitting in the cold without fidgeting. We next saw a shot of Obama walking down the hallway to come out onto the podium. He looked like he was gathering himself and putting that mask of calm on, when you know he either wanted to cry, or dance a jig. And when he finally took the oath, he stumbled a few time in his eagerness which only served to make him more human in my eyes. (Now I am hearing that Obama was only trying to correct Roberts, who screwed up the first lines of the oath.)

We had the Benediction by Rick Warren next which he ended with The Lord's Prayer. He did better than I expected, stressing the fact that we needed to have "new clarity in our aims." And, oh Aretha. That voice. She did a beautiful job with "My Country 'Tis of Thee." The John Williams "original" piece he wrote especially for the inauguration was not original at all. The plagiarist ended this "original" piece with an arrangement of "When the Saints Come Marching In." And is it my imagination or does Justice John Roberts Jr. look astoundingly like Dan Quayle?

I liked Obama's speech, it was exactly what we all expected, about how we need to "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the rebuilding of America." There were a few digs that were unmistakably directed at Bush concerning how we as a nation "are ready to lead once more," and how we will be viewed in a world where people will "judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

It was a truly historic moment and I hope that the schools around the country allowed their students to watch it in their classrooms, where they can finally beleive that racism may one day be a thing of the past, that they can acheive anything and that "Our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness." Amen to that.

(I apologize if I messed up any quotes, I don't know shorthand and was writing this on the fly.)

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