Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration reflections

What's to say? It's all been said on TV, but it was truly an inspirational day, an inspirational speech--and even a prayer that made everyone laugh. I'm sure God laughed too. After early morning meetings and cleaning up some odds and ends at the office, I stayed glued to the TV much of the day. Susan and Melinda and Charles arrived about 10:30; the girls left right after lunch--about 12:30--to go back to work. Charles stayed a bit longer, but then I got to work even though I still had the TV on. I was amazed but delighted to see the Obamas get out of their safe car and walk in the streets, greeting the crowds. I was even impressed to see all the dignitaries file into the special seating, and I watched the Obama girls with delight. No sense saying this has been a historic day--everyone knows that, and everyone knows the hard work begins tomorrow.
Some have criticized the expense of this inauguration, but I thought the pomp and circumstance had its place. It's comforting to know that these rituals go on from inauguration to inauguration--sort of like a sign the United States will survive its current multiple crises. And it was fitting to mark this particular transition with ritual. I thought the day well planned and appropriate, and I vicariously enjoyed every minute of it--wouldn't, however, have given a plugged nickel to be on that mall in the midst of all those people.
I felt a tad sorry for George Bush. He has been protesting too much about leaving with his head held high, but if he really listened to what President Obama said, he would have at least squirmed in his seat--so would Dick Cheney. It's always a bit sentimental to see the outgoing president fly away in the helicopter. This time the crowd below waved--but only some of them. And it must be cold comfort to leave, saying that history would justify his presidency--because current public opinion sure hasn't. I felt sorry, years ago, for Mrs. Nixon--I remember watchng that departure with a very young Colin who says he remembers it--and now I feel sorry for the Bushes. Not forgiving, but compassion.
My boss told me her niece who is a freshman at George Washington thought the National Mall was a shopping mall. When her aunt and mother expressed concern about the cold, she assured them it would be all right because malls are enclosed. They had to do a quick bit of educating. In a way, it shows me how much many of us need to learn about our government and our capitol.
Now I'm waiting for the final NBC roundup--maybe they'll finally show what Michelle Obama is wearing, though she looked stunning this morning.
I hope all of you are savoring the day--and praying in your own way for the new president, his administration, and his family.

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