Inauguration Day

January 20, 2009, 11:30 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, Featured, Steve  | 3 Comments

Sixteen years ago today, I was sitting at a lab bench, half-listening to a chemistry lecture as I watched the clock. At the stroke of noon, I dramatically lowered my head to my desk in a gesture of resignation. For the first time in my brief life, we had a Democratic president — and while a few of my more liberal friends tittered at my open, campy despair, there was a part of me that truly mourned.

Now, for only the second time in my less-brief life, another Democrat will be sworn in, the first winner I have ever voted against. His supporters are infinitely more optimistic than Clinton’s ever were. They have written some of the worst poetry in human history to honor the historic inauguration. They have lined up for miles around to catch a glimpse, as the train of Obama’s robe fills the temple. They make me want to mute CNN.

It seems that some of my friends are as shaken as I was at 11, worrying about the survival of the republic, making plans to move out West in a pre-emptive attempt to protect themselves from their new government. But as I watch the scene on the Mall and think about the four years to come, I don’t feel the way I did in 1992. I did not vote for this man, and I worry about the effect of some of his policies — but with the benefit of perspective, I remain supremely confident in the future of our country.

I am happy that Obama’s election has made the poor and the outcast feel welcome and included. I am pleased that our nation has, at least in some small way, overcome the terrible stain of its institutional racism. I am eager to watch President Bush’s reputation rise over the rest of my life. And frankly, I am thrilled to have the chance to watch my ideological opponents be disappointed by one of their own for a while. You know I feel more at home with low expectations anyway.

On my way to work today, I took a step off the sidewalk and felt my right foot slide on some hidden ice. Instantly, my left arm flew into the air to maintain my equilibrium; I didn’t have to think about it. It just happened. And I kept moving forward.


3 Comments to “Inauguration Day”

  1. David on January 21st, 2009 9:08 am

    Good analogy. A stumble, the left arm has to extend to maintain balance…good stuff.

  2. Djere on January 22nd, 2009 12:01 am

    But unbelievable. Oh, I *just* so happened to have this thing happen to me today that perfectly suits my point.

    I tease.

  3. Steve on January 22nd, 2009 9:11 am

    It truly happened, and I wrote the article from there…

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