Tuesday, January 20, 2009

44

No, it's not my age, not yet - don't rush me. But it is President Obama's number. 44. The 44th President of the United States. Pretty amazing. Incredibly historic.

I rushed in from my car at 8:41 AM this morning to tune into the inauguration via streaming video in my office. I was logged in and watching by the time Aretha Franklin took the stage. And the video feed only went out on me once during Obama's inaugural address -- during which time I was stressing out and cussing like a truck driver -- because I very much wanted to hear what he had to say. All of it.

From the opening, "My fellow citizens..." to the closing ..."And God bless the United States." I wanted to hear it all.

I have to admit though, that what struck me most about the whole she-bang was Obama's inability to repeat the oath itself. And his composure at his inability to repeat the oath. He just looked straight ahead with a half smile on his face and waited for the lines to be repeated to him. Of course they would be. But for those few moments it seemed, to me, that we were able to glimpse his own realization of the enormity of the moment, of his accomplishment, of the seemingly overwhelming tasks that lie ahead of him.

I very much enjoyed his address as well. He was back to the amazingly composed person that we've become accustomed to seeing. It was not as soaring and lofty as some of his prior speeches, it was almost sobering, really, but it worked. It worked for me anyway. I want a President who is humbled, grateful, mindful. I want a leader who will strive to lead with "hope and virtue." And I want a leader who is committed to keeping our nation safe, but is not willing to compromise our ideals while doing so (the video I was watching panned immediately, and perfectly, to the departing President). I also like a leader who thinks to include "nonbelievers" in his list of religions practiced by US citizens.

I look forward to his upcoming speeches, to the new energy he and his administration will bring to DC, to watching him try to turn things around.

As I a bell ringer said to an NPR reporter yesterday in Washington, "50% of marriages end in divorce, and 50% of presidencies bring disillusionment, but the beginnings, the weddings and the inaugurations, these are something to be celebrated." (Or something like that.)

So here's to the next 4 years...

12 comments:

Brian said...

You do realize that the reason he didn't repeat the oath was because Chief Justice Roberts fucked up what he was supposed to say, so Obama waited for him to repeat it correctly, right? Seriously. He's one smart dude. I'm not a democrat, but I respect him because he seems to be sincere and not have a personal agenda like so many politicians. I'm optimistic. Cautiously.

Kathi D said...

I was struck by that moment, too, and thought the same as you until it was explained later that it was actually the Justice who misspoke! The commentators said he had decided to do it without notes. Oops! And yes, it just shows how smart Obama is, and also how polite.

What a great day!

NucMEd is Hot said...

I was moved to tears in my office today. I know it won't be perfect, I just want it to be better.

XUP said...

You wouldn't believe how crazy everyone was today, even way up here. Everything stopped for 2 hours around noon while the whole country glued themselves to a TV. Bars opened early so patrons could watch it on the big screen. It's all anyone talked about. Congratulations!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I just really really loved today, and am *so* glad that our President knows the oath of office, even if our Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't....

Today, indeed, has been something to celebrate.....

Ellie

Springer Kneeblood said...

I invited my staff into my office to watch the event unfold on CNN.com live. I maximized the video so it filled my screen. And we sat glued to the TV for a good 2hours. And for two hours I couldn't stop the tears streaming down my cheeks. I hope they were glued to the TV and didn't notice.

Melissaand3boys said...

At my kids school you could hear the TVs on in every room listening for at least a half hour before the actual oath. The secretaries were watching in the school office. The PE and music teacher watching in the music room. Even though I almost ran home from the school so I could watch it with my husband it really felt like, just for awhile, we were all standing together, coming together, as a community, a country, filled with joy as this intelligent, eloquent man became our president. I definitely had tears...one reason I had to get home rather than stay at school and embarrass my kids with my crying!

Nancy said...

My OH My ... indeed a historical day for all of us.

And yes, as pointed out already, President Obama was hesitant, but only to give Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts a chance to correct his error in that part of the oath.

No doubt President Obama knew the oath, that's why he stopped, he knew that line was delivered to him wrong. =)

GoBama!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Great one Beth, it sure was a powerful day.

Jacquie

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Well, obviously, by my post, I did not know why Obama hesitated. I did not know then (and still do not know) the oath that each US President repeats, perhaps I should. Unfortunately, for you all, I did not have the benefit of watching any of the post-comment, so I was unaware of the situation until right now.

Why Roberts decided he wanted to recite the oath without reading it I don't quite get...

Beth

Kathi D said...

Beth, I didn't know either until I saw one of the pundits tell it. I guess Roberts thought he knew the oath by heart?

Me, You, or Ellie said...

He's the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. You think he'd be able to memorize a couple of lines!

Ellie