Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Goodbye, Farewell, Auf Weidersehn, Adieu


The last time we inaugurated a president I was home to see it live via sattelite courtesy of an ice storm. And what I saw and heard on that fateful day spawned an op-ed piece (that, for the record, never found a publisher) that might be called (ahem) "inflammatory" by some. Or many. Certainly by a majority of the electorate of 2004. I paused this evening to reflect on that diatribe. And while much of it rings true I must confess that a lot has happened since then, and not all of it has been bad; just the parts involving the administration to which we bid a not-very-fond farewell today.

The forecast for Inauguration Day 2009 in my hometown calls for 2-4 inches of snow beginning Monday night. As of 11:15 pm on Monday, all we'd seen was a little rain. This seems to me like a metaphor for the promises of the last 8 years. A lot of hype, very little substance. But this morning, just as promised, we have snow. The real, squeaks-when-you-walk-on-it kind, not the ice-that-looks-like-snow kind. If last night's precipitation is a metaphor for the last 8 years, do I dare hope that this morning's snow is a metaphor for the next four? Or is the thin layer of ice hiding underneath, right next to the pavement, going to derail everything?

There are, of course, those people who look into their crystal balls and forecast More Of The Same in the four years ahead. Not so very long ago I might have been one of them. Not so very long ago I considered myself "apolitical". The truth is probably more that rather than "apolitical" I was -- like a great many Americans -- "apathetic". Nobody cared, nobody bothered, because there was no point. At least not one that we could see. One president in, one out. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

But today, for reasons I can't fully explain, I don't see it that way. For probably the first time in my long life, I honestly feel like there's Something Important about to begin. Real, substantive change in The Way Things Are Done. And let me tell you, this isn't something I thought I'd ever say.

Then again, what's happening today also represents a lot of things I never thought I'd see. At the very least tomorrow will not see a venomous op-ed from yours truly sent to every editor in the country I can find an email address for. And just maybe, with a little luck and a lot of work, the America we can be is the America we will become.

And it's about damn time.
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10 comments:

Robin said...

Goodbye, good riddance, and don't let the door smack you in the *ss on the way out!

Robin said...

And of course here's to hope and belief in a new tomorrow and all that. In my haste to bid the Shrub a less than fond farewell I hit send too fast.

Kay said...

Well said.

I am trying to watch it while at work ut the feed keeps messing up.

SandyCarlson said...

The Bushes are in the helicopter and heading out of town. Together now, let's breathe!

Mama Zen said...

I feel much the same way.

And, that banner is hilarious!

Daryl said...

The end of an error indeed ... and how very sad - NOT - Cheney hurt his back...

kenju said...

I agree, Mojo.

tarheelrambler said...

Amen, my friend, amen...and I'll leave it at that.

Liz said...

I think the difference is in us - maybe inspired by Obama, but WE did it. I've spent most of the last eight years feeling more and more hopeless about the state of our country and the world but feeling powerless to do anything about it. Obama makes me want to roll up my sleeves and get to work on things, even if it's only one small piece of my own small corner of the world.

It's like we had to collectively hit rock bottom as a country before we could begin to see a way up and out.

June said...

Yes, yes, yes! I think Obama's presidential slogan should be "A New Beginning".