Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Insomnia was my companion last night which worked out pretty well for me in that I was able to turn on CNN and watch the mall in front of the capital building fill up with all of those intrepid souls who showed up in DC to witness history. I switched back and forth from CNN to ABC - I think I was hoping that Diane Sawyer's dulcet tones would lull me back to sleep, but no such luck. By the time the sun came up here on the west coast I was totally amped!

I knew it was going to happen, that history was going to turn a page, but it was sort of amorphously going to happen "out there", so I wasn't prepared for all of the feelings that came up when I saw President Obama and his lovely wife as they started their day.

It got very real!

This may have been due to new technologies and the ability of cameras to get very close shots that make it seem as if the images are close enough to touch, but I think it had more to do with the fact that even through the television the humanity and connectedness of these two people to this journey is tangible, and I feel included.

In the past, specifically the last two terms of the presidency, I have felt removed from the process, like it didn't include me, or most of us and, in fact, it wasn't supposed to. Words that were meaningless and disconnected from my reality were mouthed by people who didn't feel like they existed in my reality. They lived in a rarified world of power and otherness that I would never belong to - I didn't want to belong to something that felt like that.

Today was so very different - in short I was a bit nonplussed by Rick Warren's sheer size - his prayer was okay, I cringed at Robert's flub and marveled at the new President's composure and confidence. I loved his speech. I didn't like the poem, or maybe I might have if it had been delivered with some fire. Loved the old Rev and his closing lines exhibited not only humor, but the resiliency of the human heart to forgive and move on - AMEN! I was amazed at the First Lady's ability to appear not only beautiful and gracious but exuberant when she had to be freezing her butt off - do you think she was wearing thermal spanx? I mean most women out there were wearing down coats and UGG boots and they looked cold.

Today was awesome because over a million people came together and there was no police action, there was no fighting, there were no visible protests, there was none of the bullshit that usually happens around politics and their parties. My friend Elizabeth was there and she said that there was spontaneous hugging and singing and just general celebration. Strangers sharing their joy with strangers without any self consciousness, with the expectation of acceptance. To me it sounded like what I loved best about going to see the Grateful Dead - people coming together to celebrate something joyful and how doing that makes it so easy for our best selves, our kindest selves to come out and be part of a collective consciousness that is the highest good of the human experience.

She's never been to a show but now she knows how it feels. The porta-potty thing never comes close to being an issue.

Watching the parade this afternoon - early evening in DC - I was struck by how much fun the Obamas seemed to be having as they witnessed the people of this country parading past for hours. They waved and made eye contact and those smiles! They danced, they made welcome those that came to share the moment with them and it occurred to me that we had people in the White House that felt real and human and it's been sooooooo long since I've felt that way about anyone in politics in this country.

The only thing that dimmed my bulb was when I heard that as Bush was introduced as President for the last time the crowd spontaneously started singing, "na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, hey, good bye," so that it could be heard on the dais. While I understand the frustration that fuels something like that it is disrespectful and lacks grace.

I cannot imagine that Barack Obama would do something like that, nor that he appreciated it.

This is why when the Bush's got in the helicopter and flew away, and I leapt up and did a happy dance, I did it alone where no one could see me.

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