Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And...finally! President Barack Obama. How sweet the sound.

We watched it at Gerry's apartment, on his hi-def TV--C and I and Raquel, and Elizabeth and Theron and Ruth and Michelle and E. Three lesbians, two African-Americans, one Colombian, two straight couples...

I can't remember ever actually watching an Inaugural before. I think for both of Bush's inaugurals I was rocking back and forth in a fetal position under the bed. Or maybe I was down at the Canadian consulate, pestering them for a citizenship application. Either way, I paid as little attention as possible.

For this one, we were rapt. I was particularly impressed with Michelle Obama's ability to stand and walk all day on pointy high heels shoes in an inadequate open cloth coat when the outside temperature was 24 degrees, 16 with the wind chill. Forget Obama--he looked great, sure, but he also had a nice long wool coat, thick scarf and comfortable shoes. When you see Michelle do what she did you realize we were not all created equal--some were created with the ability to be a politician's wife, and others of us weren't. Since C has no aspirations in that direction I'm safe--I can sit comfortably on the couch in my jeans and sneakers, moaning and kvetching if the thermostat goes below 60. But her--dignity and grace personified.

At the very very beginning, before he took the oath, Obama appeared deep in prayer or meditation, as if he were in an altered state. He didn't crack a smile until afterwards. I could feel the waves of Buddha-ness emanating from him.

I confess I am having trouble getting completely on board with the centrist make friends across the aisle philosophy. I agree we need to forget our petty differences and work together, but I have a hard time forgtetting that Rick Warren got Prop 8 to pass just two months ago, or all the damage done by the Republicans. I confess to having evil thoughts when I saw Cheney in his wheelchair, and the Bushes on the steps of the White House waving good-bye. I thouht of all the harm Bush did in his years as President, all of the Iraqi women and children who died, all the people who wdied in Hurricane Katrina who didn't have to. All the dead soldiers and those maimed for life.

I saw Obama and Bush embracing, Bush embracing Michelle Obama and thought, "Not me. I'd spit in his eye."

Yet another reason why it's good I'm not a political wife. Seriously, the extreme graciousness of the incoming administration makes me realize my own tendencies to be petty and resentful, and to question how useful those qualities are (not to mention how unattractive.) I am not comfortable with white-washing over history but it also doesn't do much good to keep clinging to old hatreds. i wonder how much I'll be able to let go of, given some time, and what I will gain in exchange?

There is more to say but I'm going to take a nap before embarking on the evening's inaugural festivities. Being a political spectator is so exhausting.


Anonymous said...

Love is an action. It is not only a feeling. If love is to truly change the world then spitting in someone else's eye, no matter how much you think they may deserve it, does not bring more love into the world. Life is not black and white. There is good in everyone..even George W. and Dick C. Hard as that may be to believe from their actions.....the only way to change hate is to love, to give and to help heal. Hard isn't it? I think it was Christ's message. How many of us can do it. I certainly can not but for the sake of this country and the world and the children of the world, I will make an effort.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama

In awe
Repeats of the speech
The tear-filled eyes of
Around the world
Young and old
White and black
Hispanic and Asian
Rich and poor
All of them