Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Bear, A Tiger, and an Awesome Inauguration

I watched the inaugural festivities in the university's grand (i.e., scandalously expensive) new student center, surrounded by dozens of friends and colleagues and happy strangers. (Oh, and my husband, too.) We shared high-fives when Biden supplanted Darth Cheney. We cheered when the clock struck noon and made Barack Hussein Obama our 44th president. And I wasn't the only one who spent most of the hour teary-eyed. I am, as the Germans say, "built close to the water," but yesterday seemed to a high-water day for an awful lot of people.

My kids had a different take on it. The Bear thought the ceremony was "very cool," but his class had to do math worksheets while the TV droned in the background. Aaargh! History in the making, and the kids are cramming for those damn standardized tests! I have sympathy for the third-grade teachers, who are evidently feeling the crunch from all the snow closures; we've had five days with two-hour delays, plus three actual snow days. But still!

The Tiger watched the inauguration in the cafeteria at lunchtime. His take? "It was not awesome." (The Tiger currently divides his whole world into two categories: awesome and not awesome.) And why not? "There were only grow-mutts." Only adults. He was only slightly mollified when I told him about Sasha being close to his age - and apparently about as bored as he was.

Aside from those few miniature dissenters, it was an awesomely awesome day. We kept the kids up way too late at a party, where it was also awesome to see a bunch of fellow campaign volunteers for the first time since November 4. Catching up on things today ... well, that's been not awesome. But oh, so very worth it.

With all due respect to my dear little Tiger, I loved Obama's sober tone. I loved his call to collective responsibility. I loved his reference to "putting away childish things." I happen to think it's awesome that there's a grow-mutt in charge of the White House again.

This, by the way, is the poster I won in the end-of-campaign raffle for all the local canvassers and phone bankers. Look closely and you'll see where
Biden signed it during his stopover in Athens. (My winning it was undeserved; lots of people put in way more hours than I.) The pic below gives you a better view of Biden's scrawl.


Anonymous said...

I happen to think it's awesome that there's a grow-mutt in charge of the White House again.

With a taste for the work of being president it seems--a refreshing change from the previous occupant.

Sungold said...

Hi Kvatch! Nice of you to drop by again.

I hear the Obamas don't own any property that's overrun with brush. That might free up some time for the presidency.

Your avatar is also *awesome*, by the way.

John Pine said...

One hesitates to exalt drunkenly in hope, because it's such a fragile butterfly. But even the most encrusted pessimist has to admit that Obama's image is an invitation to global unity (everyone identifies with him: he seems to represent everybody). He is a rallying mandala. His personality is fresh and positive, and he has a brain! It is encouraging when someone intelligent enough to know how wrong everything can go, still obstinitely glows with optimism. When America takes arms against a sea of troubles, I honestly believe it can (by opposing) end them.

Dubya is now a wounded bird. Please don't peck him to death. That would not be noble.

John Pine said...

In thy orisons be all my typos remembered. Obstinately.

Sungold said...

John, I'm glad to hear that hope is overflowing our American borders. I definitely got that sense when I was in Berlin last summer - and Germans are pretty skeptical of supposedly "messianic" leaders, for the best of historical reasons.

Obama will make mistakes. He'll disappoint me. But - as I told my little Bear - overall we can expect things to get better.

Sadly, not all of my countrymen (and women) think intelligence is an essential trait in a leader. (Witness the past eight years ... naming no names, of course!) Alone, it's also not enough. But I for one am grateful that Obama's very, very bright. He's going to need all of his smarts to face the troubles ahead.