Observations from Today’s Presidential Inauguration

Today was the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States.  This year, more than any in my memory, people have very passionate feelings over what is to come for the next four years.  My mother alone is driving me crazy with her cracks on the now-President and the disaster that his administration is going to bring.  Others in places all over the world are crying with joy at how far this country has come.

My feeling (which I have expressed numerous times) on the matter is this: I don’t care who you voted for, as long as you voted.  If you didn’t vote, then shut your yap.  This afternoon summed it up perfectly: V called me and said “doesn’t today just make you proud to be an American and to be able to witness today?” then there was my mother who called me five minutes after and said “well we’re screwed for the next four years, today is just the beginning of the end.”  Look, if you did vote, and you voted for the other party, then I’m sorry you lost.  Even though you didn’t vote for him, however, Barack Obama is now the leader of this country.  For no other reason than the fact that it is what the founders of this country demanded, the man deserves your respect and your support now that he is in office.  I not saying I voted for him, I’m not saying I voted against him–in fact, my friend V and I made sure we each cancelled out the vote of the other as there were things about both candidates that we did/did not like.  I wasn’t a big fan of George W., but he was my President and for that reason I respected him.  I’ve been fairly careful to not come out with a soapbox and preach my political standings to the masses.  Or the smaller crowds either, for that matter.  Well, okay, maybe to just the dog.  Truth of the matter is I think that Ronald McDonald could have won this as long as he was on the Democratic ticket, since the Republicans have been in the lead for the last eight years.

Enough of me blabbering about semantics.  There were a few things thought that I thought were a riot, some thing that I thought were memorable (well, okay, all was memorable, but certain points), and I wanted to write about them so I didn’t forget them all.

  • I was watching the ceremonies via TiVo.  So technically, Obama was the President for about forty-five minutes before I saw it.  But you know the morning was busy.  It did occur to me, however, about 45 minutes into the broadcast, that it was probably slightly irreverent of me to be watching wearing a pink fluffy towel on my head, sweatpants, Scooby Doo socks, and a Twister t-shirt.
  • The Chief Justice of the United States messed up the words in the Presidential oath, which messed up Obama.  You practice and practice and then someone throws you a curve ball in front of 1.5 million people and a live global television audience.  He still responded with the words in the correct order even though the CJ said it wrong–twice.  [Update: what a hoot–they called back CJ John Roberts to readminister the oath on January 21 at the White House.  Evidently all those people who dislike Obama were saying he wasn’t really president, so why invite problems, he just resaid it.  And as he said beforehand, “we’re going to do this slowly and clearly”.  Hee!  So my question is this: since the Constitution says that the President becomes President at noon, and the ceremonies were running late so the misspoken oath wasn’t until afternoon, are they saying that whoever in the process between noon and 12 whatever was really president for a full day?  Just a thought….]
  • How cute were the two girls??  Malia with her digital camera so that she could take pictures of her daddy, and Sasha in her pink clearly enjoying all of it.
  • John Williams still has it.  Excellent job writing, and YoYo Ma was clearly enjoying playing it.
  • I took a bit of perverse pleasure in the fact that Chaney pulled a back muscle while packing and therefore had to spend the morning in a wheelchair.  Bit humbling for the man.
  • Rick Warren is a gifted and talented man.  He is responsible for quite a few people and their dedication to their faith.  I admire him for that.  But for the love of god (no pun intended), get a haircut and cut about thirteen minutes out of your invocation.
  • Aretha may be getting up in years, but she’s still got it.  The woman is still a diva.
  • How cool was Michele Obama’s mother?  That woman rocks.
  • Fantastic to see the last five Vice Presidents and Presidents on the stage.  I was cracking up at George HW, bless his heart, as he was hobbling in on a bad hip.  The hat with the furry ear flaps sticking out of his overcoat was just a hoot.  When Obama was being announced and they showed the shot of everyone looking down at him, he was just funny.  But even better?  How cool were Jimmy and Mrs. Carter, standing there in their shades???  I’m sorry, I know many people do not care for him very much, but I still think that Jimmy Carter was a darned classy man.
  • I was wondering where Hilary was while the future cabinet were being introduced.  Duh, she’s a former first lady, she’s going to come in with her husband.  I was struck by the amazing grace of this woman.  Here is a woman who wanted this job.  Who took the Secretary of State position, and therefore essentially secured that she would not run for office until at least 2016.  Let’s face it, unless the man royally, royally messes up, she can’t run for the ticket in 2012 because she will be running against her own party’s sitting incumbent President and her boss.  To top things off, today’s first act by the new POTUS was to sign executive orders that appointed his entire cabinet . . . save for Clinton, since there is one Senator that is iffy on her appointment.  I told you, there’s amazing grace there.
  • Speaking of the Clintons, what was up with Bill’s ebullient and enthusiastic embrace of George HW?  Since when are they such close friends?
  • Over 1.5 million people there on the mall.  I’m just sayin’.
  • Love him or hate him, when he speaks, you cannot deny that the man has charisma.
  • Didn’t realize that the entire Supreme Court was going to be there, including former Justice Sandra Day O’Conner.  How cute was the guy that had on huge earmuffs, though?
  • Watching their interaction on the platform, I’m anxious to see how the relationship between Biden and Obama is going to pan out.
  • Note to Michelle Obama’s brother: don’t chew gum when your brother-in-law is taking the oath of office.
  • The speech Obama gave was rather interesting, and I’d like to ponder it over time.  I think he said a lot that he has four years to live up to.  He spoke principles of humanity and faith and the responsibility we have as citizens to be responsible for our own future.  There was a bit of graciousness towards George W. at the beginning, and then it was basically a call out to past administrations that allowed our country to get in the position we are in right now.  I think it’s kinda funny, seeing as how Clinton paid off the national debt, that in eight years George W. got us back into trillions owed, but still . . . interesting.  We must work for our place and our rights in this country while we simultaneously rebuild the superpower of the United States.  General theme seemed to be that “we’re not going to do it for you, it’s our responsibility as a whole to participate.”
  • The first time I really saw the man smile freely and naturally without any sort of forced effort was just before the poem was read.
  • A threat by Somalia?  What threat?
  • The benediction?  “Yellow . . . is mellow”?  “When red . . . can get ahead”?  What a hoot!
  • What was up with the shots during Aretha?  I realize that the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge and the Grand Canyon are all national landmarks, significant things that invoke a feeling of Americana.  But why are you showing shots of it while it’s a DC focus.  Could you not find American landmarks in the nation’s capital?  Seriously??
  • The timing of this I thought was great.  Yesterday being Martin Luther King Day, replays of the infamous speech all day including the line where he thought that a black man could be president with 40 years.  Well, okay, not 40, but less than 50 counts, right?
  • And of course, they had to show the moving vans outside the White House . . . talk about not letting the door hitting you on the way out!  I realize it is how it always works, but good grief.
  • Ted Kennedy should be home and in bed.  He came anyway, along with many others of the Kennedy/Shriver clan, and then had seizures at the luncheon afterwards which then sent him to the hospital for the night.  For Pete’s sake, step aside already.  Your legacy was left on a bridge years ago, and you need to step aside!

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