Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A little more on the Inauguration

Today I sat on my couch for about an hour and watched Barak Obama come into office officially. There were a few things that struck me...

  • What is going through his head as he is walking down that long corridor before entering a crowd of millions? I was shocked at how many people were there waving flags and chanting "Obama". If I were him, I would have cried when I entered the audience. I wonder what the commentators would have said if he shed a few tears? But, no he was cool as a cucumber, poised and "humbled" (according to his speech).
  • Is this more hype than is necessary? Today was a historic moment in our country and was personally moving for me and many others for sure. But, I wonder how much this moment in time is worth all of the hoopla and millions of $$ that are spent on the transfer of power. Maybe it is... maybe it isn't... 
  • What are people expecting from him? Do the commentators dictate what we expect? Are individuals putting their hopes and dreams too much in the hands of one man or one administration? Is his ability to paint a positive vision for our country something that can truly catch on on the individual level? What will this take? What is going to happen when the honey moon period is over? 
  • I went to whitehouse.gov and found a page with the past presidents. I scrolled through the pictures and read a couple of the bios. It was interesting to see what had been the climate of some of those who have come before us. Some presidents were only in office for a few months or a year and others for 10+ years. Each making difficult decisions, each having people claim various truths and myths about them. Each of them simply men. 
Did you have anything that struck you from the chain of events today?

10 comments:

Shannon Smith said...

I thought that there was a bit more "hoopla" than necessary, but I can't remember there being this much hype in previous years. I'm not one for spending money on stuff like this, but it is a historic event. So, I'll give him a pass.

Here are a couple other thoughts...

After bumbling through the swearing in, I wish Obama would have said something like, "Well, that was more difficult than I thought it was going to be," or "That's not how it went when I was practicing in the mirror."

Also, if they insist on referencing his race, I wish they would stop referring to him as "African American". I would prefer if they said multi-racial, multi-ethnic, or something along those lines. I mentioned this to Kim and she said "I wonder how he feels about it." Anyone ever heard him respond to being referred to as the first African-American president?

traci said...

I agree on both points... I thought it was funny when he was repeating the swearing in. It would have been clever if he had called himself out on it ;)

On the "african american" part... i was looking at his face when they were talking about that as well and couldn't tell what emotions he was feeling at all. I wonder if he thinks... well I'm not really african american... or there is more to me than being multi racial... or i love it that i get to be the one to set history in motion... or i can't believe that i am the one that is getting to have this much emphasis? not sure...

he gave a speech on Monday for Dr. King Day. I didn't hear it, but wonder if he spoke to that at all then.

george said...

So many things ...

* Those people must have been freezing! Did Obama and Michele have some kind of electric vests underneath (along with their bulletproof ones?)? Were there big hot-air blowers near them? How could they be dressed like that and not shivering?

* When the Biden in I thought, "Well, we got Cheney out of the way."

* Was Pearlman really playing a Strad in sub-freezing temperatures, or did he bring one his lesser instruments? Same question for Ma and the clarinetist. Instruments and freezing weather do not get along.

* After Obama finished the oath, I thought, "Well, it's your pile of poop now." What a mess. How much control does the president really have? A lot less than we might think, is my guess. But the symbolism of the change and the power of that symbolism is great. I sure hope it works magic, 'cause we could stand a little magic now.

* The Dow Jones blew him off - down more than 100 at noon and continuing to decline, looking to close off 300 and below 8.000. No magic there. That control thing again.

* I wondered what it must be like to go home to the White House with all of the people there to help and handle you, to feel like you're now the person who's "in charge" of a whole country. I simply cannot imagine. What does a person think in such a situation? What is Obama thinking?

* So tomorrow he has to wake up and go to work. Just like the rest of us. Short commute, but lots of travel. Of course, this job is really 24x7x52.

* The hoopla ... well, it's not like anyone could have stopped it. Nobody invited al of those people - they just came. And once they start coming, all the other stuff has to swing into pace - all the security, the organization, and so forth. It's really unstoppable in a country like ours, which I think is a good thing. Could the money have been put to better use, sure. But really, there's just no way to have avoided it.

* It was an amazing moment, really, for our country. We listened to MLKs "I have a dream" speech last night. We're getting closer.

Sam Ed. said...

I was at the 2004 inauguration and, then, was struck by the money that was spent. It was largely criticized for being over the top and a burden on the tax payers by his opponents. In contrasts, today's inauguration cost three times the amount of the 2004 inauguration, but people are excited, and therefore don't seem to mind. All depends on your state of mind, I suppose.

I was struck by what an exciting day it is for all minorities...not just African-Americans. Be you Republican or Democrat, be the new President Republican or Democrat...it was an exciting day of progress. I was talking to my best friend, who happens to be African American this morning. I said to him "I'm excited for you today." as i knew he had been looking forward to it. He simply replied, "I'm excited for us today. All Americans are taking a big step forward at noon." I thought that kind of summed up the day nicely.

traci said...

well said sam

Jon said...

Obviously I am biased on this, but I did hear that the Chief Justice decided to go without notes and said the wrong lines. I realize you can just repeat what he tells you, but if you already practiced it one way, it would probably throw you off.

Second, in the book Dreams of My Father, you note that he really identified with the African American community growing up - I don't think being referred to as African American would bother him.

Lastly, I was struck by how amazing and wonderful to live in a place where the most powerful person in the country willingly give up his power to another. That leads to conflict in many other places.

traci said...

George. I like your thoughts. I hadn't considered the musical instruments or possible heating elements near them... I am thinking there wasn't much. But, I was talking with one of my friends who went and he said that it wasn't that cold because there were so many people and the body heat really helped out a lot. That probably isn't the case when you are all alone on stage though.

Also, since the news decided to spent a majority of its time commenting on Mrs. Obama's fashion choices... I learned that the "Lemon Grass" dress she was wearing had several layers of silk and wool that were designed for warmth, so she was good to go with her ensemble.

As for the pile of poop... yep, he actually listed a bunch of it in his speech... lets see what he does with it now.

traci said...

Jon... thanks for sharing about the justice and no notes. good to know. i wonder if Obama was mad about that or if he just blew it off like no big deal. I'm surprised I haven't heard anything about that on the news.

As far as the transfer of power goes... great point! I'm thankful that I live in a country where that happens so peacefully....

then i started thinking about the hurtful campaigns and the feelings that are real and raw even when the outside of the transfer seems to go so smoothly, how are the folks feeling on the inside?

Jon said...

Yeah, check out this:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/01/21/biden-jabs-roberts-for-oath-flub/

also, just saw they did the oath over again to make sure it was consistent with the constitution:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/01/21/obama-re-takes-oath-of-office-at-the-white-house/

traci said...

thanks for sharing the articles Jon. I'm glad we can be confident that Obama is the president :)