A New Day

21 Jan

I wasn’t going to watch the Inauguration yesterday. In fact, the polarity between the outgoing Bush bashing (with the petty jokes and jabs) compared to the Inaugural four-day Obama love fest that I kept hearing about when I turned on the TV (or got on the Net, or read a magazine) was just…aggravating. Tiresome. It just seemed kind of vulgar and over the top. Seriously, I don’t care what Demi and Ashton think about our new President. I was just…over it. So yesterday morning, I was lucky enough to get off work for the “Snow Storm of the Century” in Charlotte (which equated to I think 2 inches of snow on my lawn, but I’ll take what I can get), so I decided to spend it reading my book, and watching a movie. But as the opening credits of “The Kite Runner” rolled, my mom called and urged me to turn on the TV to watch the pomp and circumstance of the Inauguration. I’m glad I did. I forgot how beautiful Inaugurations are in their grand, historic way: the motorcade driving down the street past all the cheering fans, the crisp cold weather, everyone bundled up, the row of presidents and vice presidents and first ladies and families. It’s comforting. It’s tradition. It’s history.

I loved the color of it all. I loved the matching purple scarves of Bush 41 and Barbara (who honestly looks exactly the same as she did 20 years ago). The bright blue of Hillary’s coat. The confetti colors of the 2 million people gathered against the cold on the Mall. I loved the bright dresses (and matching smiles) of Sasha and Malia, who are just the cutest. They’re both going to grow up just gorgeous, you can tell. I even liked the bright, daring print of Michelle’s dress—something only a woman with bold taste and stature can pull off with aplomb. I wasn’t a fan of the contrasting greens and blues at first in her accessories, but they grew on me. Not everyone can wear a mustard brocade with flair! All of it was so very grand, and remarkable.

I woke up this morning to the radio and heard the phrase “…where President Obama and his wife Michelle danced at 10 different balls.” And I liked it. It sounded good. It’s time. I was as anxious for Bush’s last day in office as my liberal friends were, but of course for the opposite reason—I was ready for him to go home to be out of the spotlight. I think the daily hate he has had to endure, the complete and utter disrespect for his leadership while in office, was just so…offensive. Wouldn’t it exhaust the average person? As if he was to blame for every horrible thing that has happened to each American for the last 8 years. As if he’s Satan himself. I don’t think he’s even as offended by it as his supporters are—he’s got a thicker skin than we do. I’ve had to stop reading certain newspapers and blogs because of the fanatical hatred and nastiness, and for what? I understand (and even appreciate) dislike, and disagreement, and frustration with the man, but the utter contempt, the vitriol, the utter loathing for someone who has kept us safe in a time of war, who acted in a way he thought was right, who made tough decisions on an hourly basis was just…gross. What is the point of it? For me it cast a pall on everything that surrounded Obama’s coming into office. So much of it was ugly, and I thought it tainted everything around it.

But the now the transition is complete. Bush is back in Crawford, Obama is settled into the White House. The balls are over, the crowds have left, and it’s a new beginning. It’s Obama’s turn to do what he thinks is right, to be judged on his merits instead of just his words. I’m grateful because I think today begins the day when the celebrity fawning ceases (well, almost) and the real work begins. I think people forget he’s just a man. I admire but can’t truly appreciate how one person can be the recipient of so many hopes, dreams, and expectations of millions of people—he’d have to be superhuman. In that respect, I feel empathy for him and his family. It will be interesting to see just how quickly he goes from being a mythical figure to merely a man, flawed, who will make choices people will dislike on both sides. You saw it already with the whole Rick Warren thing. It’s inevitable—you can’t put someone like that on a pedestal and expect them to stay up there. I don’t envy the man his challenges, but I hope he’s the right man to pull it off. I do admire his and Michelle’s dashing vigor…they look so energetic, so vibrant, so solid. It’s what we need. It’s what we’re ready for.

And isn’t the system in action beautiful to watch? As much as you love or hate whoever is in power, it will continue to change, every 4 to 8 years. It’s really amazing. It’s like the best social experiment we have! I’m glad I watched.

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