The Blue Raccoon

Monday, January 19, 2009

Goin' Up For The Risin'

Image: Marc Hall/Getty Images via Los Angeles Times.

So we are going up on the Chinatown Bus to the mass celebration of Obama's inauguration. My Amie has some rather nostalgic memories of Clinton's inaugural, and there was a kind of fair environment on the Mall, and great music, for free.

Well, this is not that.

After seeing the extravaganza on Sunday, this is not a trip to the fair.

She got the tickets for us two weeks ago before we knew what this was shaping up to be; now, with the weather perhaps to call for snow, we learn that umbrellas are prohibited. Bring a plastic trash bag and a piece of cardboard to stand on, the Washington Post counseled.

I'm ecstatic as a citizen of the republic to see this event come to pass in my lifetime. The pomp and pageantry attending his elevation to the post, I certainly appreciate it from the show business angle. And I must confess, as I've said elsewhere in this blog, this entire process has been like The. Best. West Wing. Ever.

I see him and his family, rocking back and forth to Stevie Wonder, and I still cannot believe it's happening. Doesn't seem possible or real. And that's me, a newly minted 48-year-old white guy from Richmond, Va. What the sensation must be to African Americans, I can only imagine, and really, only imagine.

But once all the music's echoes have faded, and the roar of the crowds subsided into the usual noise of traffic in the nation's capital, what Barack Hussein Obama is confronted with is a multiple collection of crises and controversies the likes of which none of his immediate, living predecessors have confronted.

A continuing war in Afghanistan for an ambiguous conclusion is folly; the British couldn't control that country, the Soviets got wrecked there (in part thanks to eventual covert U.S. assistance), and there's no reason for us to think our luck will be any different. That's a sign of arrogance that is more of the past than the apparent present we've voted for. What's there is an oil pipeline and opium.

The bailout mishigas is going nowhere.

And that's just for starters.

Our Comcast was out this past weekend, and my wife put in a DVD of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. At one point, the parvenu Lyndon is beating up his step son during a chamber concert. The audience watches both appalled and entertained. But all the sudden his wealthy friends stop calling, and like Hogarth's Rake, all his bills come "with a hasty unanimity." This sequence reminds me of our country's current situation.

Barack has an impossible job ahead of him. I cannot think of what will come next.

We'll be standing there, with a few million people by the Jumbotron watching him take the oath and cheering, too. And hoping this can be a new day, and not just a change of scenery.

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At 8:20 PM, Anonymous di said...

and wEll?
how was IT ..

At 8:51 AM, Blogger HEK said...

Di thanks for reading.

I wrote a fairly straight-forward account of the event for Richmond Magazine here, and I plan a little more detailed piece for the Blue Raccoon. Meantime, here:


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