BLOG January 20, 2009. The historic majesty of the transition has finally come.
President elect Barack Obama will be taking the oath of office with Abraham Lincoln’s Bible. We just heard that the Obama’s, Biden’s and Bushes are having coffee and Danishes at the White House this morning. Obama choose to have the direction of the event doing to the west consequently they are able to put more people on the dais and in the Mall area. Michelle arrived in a sheath fitted golden brocade dress with matching ¾ length jacket with a soft bold chiffon scarf made by a Cuban American designer. She was stunning, noticeably nervous, and all smiles. Barack was daper and calm as ever in a black cigarette-styled full length camel coat and dark suit. It is estimated that there are more than 3 million people there. Bush had on a dark blue suit, and blue dotted tie. His face is worn the years hadn’t been kind. Mrs. Bush was poised and smiling with a nicely fitted grey-double breasted knit dress and her hair was smooth and shiny.
Several camera vantage points shows little specks of blues, yellows, reds and occasional whites which are excited people who have been partying and waiting in the mall. As the camera spans across the lawn area you see chain link fencing separating the various sections for crowd control, seemingly pleased you see some people jumping up and down, others clapping their hands, hugging one another and others swaying to keep warm in the 50 degree weather.
All of this seems surreal to me because I could only hope all these months that this would even happen. Eight years ago Obama addressed the Democratic Party and his speech was well received and astonished some of us who had heard him for the first time. I remember telling my roommate at the time, “have you heard of that guy before?” He responded, “yes and said that his son believed he had the ability to be the next President of the United States that on meeting him he was in absolute awe. He taped it and I remember playing again and again in my bedroom later that day, hearing the deliberate choice of words the young man had chosen. Damn he has a great speech writer I remember thinking. My roommate’s son doesn’t get excited or impressed by much anymore, he said but he called while the speech was going on and we both found his enthusiasm refreshing because up to then, I only found him happy in the greater comfort of hiking difficult trails under snow and blistering wind conditions. Man and nature and a group of friends one would say. So I remember becoming interested in Obama then and asking, why hadn’t Ebony magazine done any special on him in the past? But they hadn’t. Of course after that speech everyone was talking about the new junior senator from Illinois and his face was plastered on all media.
Crowds surround both sides of the motorcade. Hearing the history of slaves building the White House, the MLK, Jr. “I have a dream speech”, hearing recaps of seeing President Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II taking the oath of office don’t compare to what I believe I am witnessing this morning. I still can’t cry. But my chest is full and my head is ringing from the inner excitement that I have lived to see this day.
The story goes that Dick Cheney pulled his back out while moving boxes so he will be in a wheelchair, but so far this morning we haven’t seen him yet. With his heart problems you would think that he would hire someone to move boxes for him. Meantime you hear CNN commentator saying that Bush told the media corp “you never clapped for me” and the media responded with a roaring laughter. Maybe this is the start of something different. Word is that the last time the media did clap was when Bill Clinton would appear. I’m sure Bush has much to think about, a legacy which he started rewriting weeks ago because he wants us to understand that there was purpose behind his actions. That is quite another story and I won’t taint the provocative moment with Bush thoughts.
I can only imagine the photo opportunity the photographer is having. Perfect for the moment is what Obama is described by the media representative from CNN. They are calling the color guard, I have to go and watch this. . . will be back in a few . . . Oh what a day, Oh what a day. . .