Tuesday, January 20, 2009
They say to save politics until at least the third date when in courtship. But these days it's almost impossible to hold it in for so long, and our generation has made its own rules. We are currently living in a very exciting political climate. New heroes have emerged, old crusty policies are being questioned, stereotypes have been broken, new enemies have been made, and the (start of the) fulfillment of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dreams for his birthday: all occurring while the stakes are the highest they've been since the Great Depression.
Today Barack Obama became Mr. President. Two million people stood at the Mall in Washington D.C's freezing weather- but no one I saw let the frosty cold reflect on their face as they watched the President of the United States swear in, and for the first time in our history he was a black man. To have been there would be an irreplaceable experience, even though I'm no fan of cold weather. To feel the excitement of change, to finally see the good side of America again, to have renewed faith in what She can be.
I was partly scared of what could happen. An outbreak of violence in some form. My generation knows too many examples of the brutal fact that there are people out there that want to ruin a good party. We've seen how quickly good times and peaceful gatherings can turn into terrible memories. But even the cynics can breathe a sigh of relief: the dark heart of man did not reveal itself publicly today.
My inaugural celebration was of a much smaller party. I woke up late and in a tizzy I turned on the television, realizing everything was about to begin. My mom had coaxed my sister and I into going to her house and watching the inauguration, tempting us with the promise of mimosas. At home, I waited until President Bush and Cheney started rolling out in procession then I turned off the TV and decided to make a dash for it. (I figure the worst punishment for celebrities is to ignore them. And George Bush & Co. are closer to the mentality of celebrities than of a presidency). I opened my front door and vaa-la! it was a Winter Wonderland. It rarely snows here in my hometown, and it seemed like a gift, even though I'd had a hint at its coming. After a squeal I ran back inside for my coat and dashed back out the door.
On the way over to my mom's my windshield wipers started acting strangely. I had no control over them, except to only make them go faster, then only slightly faster. As the snow was then subsiding, their quick pounding was unnerving and wholly unnecessary. When I got to my mom's and turned off the car, I was hoping the possessed wipers would stop, but even with the car off they kept a-pumping.
I hopped inside and started watching history. I decided that the speech and surrounding ceremony was more important then the health of my car battery. There were no mimosas, as my mom was hungover, and my sister had opted out of the event to go surf the snow waves. It was still nice, and I enjoyed the late morning snuggled inside on a blistery day, with someone as excited as I was. I went back out into the flurries at intervals to try my luck at calming the car wipers, but couldn't figure a cure. So huddled back inside I enjoyed the poetry, the music, and even the prayers of the inauguration as my wipers trooped on outside:
whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh.
My mother was finally able to reason with me and we took my car to the auto-mechanic, and dropped it off to have its demon exorcised. Blowing me kisses she drops me off at my place as my friend Sami calls and says she is on her way over. We went down to this large ritzy shopping area and popped in a couple stores. We talked, we browsed sales, we spent little money.
It was not lost on us that we have been together on the darkest and brightest days in recent American history.
Sami and I met on September 11, 2001- she was in my freshman gym class, and we were goofing around with an ab ball after we had just met, and the news was turned on. On this morning the U.S. felt a thrust of violence different from anything we had experienced before, and at first we didn't really get it (Man, what was that pilot on to fly into a building??) but together we gradually grasped the magnitude of what happened. We walked back to campus housing together never realizing she lived above me in the apartments until we were in front of the building. And thus started our friendship. Our time together abroad in Wales cemented our friendship. Four years later we were together when the country elected Senator Barack Hussein Obama into Presidency and we celebrated with half our town at Reel Cafe.
And Sami and I found ourselves together on another historic day in American history, and on the first day of the rest of our lives. It feels good to have someone in office that I can trust their judgment, someone who will positively represent our country and who is willing to fix, or at least try with every means at his disposal, the many problems politicians have shrugged off for several terms.
So today I am feeling the hope I've been hoping for. The glass is now half full, and we're halfway there.
In Pomp and Circumstance,
*Credits to Drunk Elaine: Obamarama!