Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Show of Class -- and Showing Up the Lack of It

As my "faithful readers" know, I have refrained from speaking on political matters except for a few brief general comments on Election Day. And in particular, I have refrained from getting "personal" about "political matters". But I've been watching the Inaugural proceedings this morning with my girls and can't resist a few comments.

- Once again, I am grateful to live in a country where a transfer of power can happen in such a peaceful and even amiable manner. We forget how blessed we are.

- The size of the crowd was amazing. And I don't begrudge them their enthusiasm. But when I heard a black woman yelling, "Thank you, Obama!! Thank you!!" I had to wonder, thank you for what? He hasn't done anything yet. Give him a chance to prove himself first.

- You gotta feel for poor Dick having to endure the whole thing in a wheelchair -- especially knowing that there are thousands of people in this country who hate his guts and are laughing in jubilee at the sight (which is much to their disgrace).

- Those Obama girls are adorable. I hope their parents are able to protect them from getting screwed up by this whole experience. It's got to be hell growing up in the White House.

- I think Rick Warren did very well under the pressure. He was in a most unenviable position. I'm sure there's nothing he could have said that would have appeased his enemies today, but he spoke his heart and he spoke with grace.

- I know how many of my friends hate Bush. I know how much of the country hates Bush. But good heavens--I would hope that at least some of them can have the objectivity to separate the decision-maker from the decisions and acknowledge that the man has class. By all accounts, even from his retractors and opponents, he treats every person he encounters and works with with genuine respect and goodwill--even those who would have his head on a platter. The farewell moment between the Bushes and the Obamas was downright moving to me. And LORD KNOWS, Mr. Bush's low-key private meeting with his supporters on his way out of town is a far cry from the obnoxious and totally inappropriate Clinton rally we saw in January 2001 on his way out of town. It's Obama's day, and W. gave it to him -- with grace and dignity. Good for him.

- As much as I am unsure of the direction President Obama wants to take the country, I have to acknowledge that he, too, seems to be a man of grace and class. In fact, the best thing about today was seeing all the major players on different sides of "the aisle" behaving so civilly, and even affectionately, toward each other. The spirit of it all was a great thing to see. Would that our new president can encourage that kind of class among his supporters (such as the thousands in the mall this morning who boo'ed their outgoing president when he entered -- again, much to their disgrace).

- And despite the fact that Obama was not my choice for this office, I couldn't help but be moved, and moved deeply, by the power of this historical moment. We have a black president. A black president! How far our nation has come! Most of my friends were probably NOT watching the Fox News coverage of the day, but Juan Williams, a liberal black commentator on the network, had a moment when he was speaking about Joe Lowry, the minister who delivered the benediction, and how amazing it was for this powerhouse of the civil rights movement to see this moment -- and Juan began to choke up. I did, too.

Of course, as Malia Obama reportedly told her daddy, "First African-American President. Hmm. Better be good!" Spoken as only his daughter could.


chief320 said...

Thank you so much for stating this. I have been mulling this over the past 24 hours. You said nearly everything I was thinking (little scary, I think). Maybe I will just point to your blog and say "what she said!"

Christina said...

I agree with your post completely Gwen. I couldn't have put it any better myself! I took off work to watch the day's events, and could not help but beam at what an amazing country we have. I definitely found myself "feclempted" at a moment or two.

Also, the Obama girls wore coats by J.Crew, and the gloves Michelle Obama was wearing were purchased there as well. For some reason, this put a smile on my face -- they shop there just like many working class people. Hopefully this means he'll stick in it with us for the next 4 years.