Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

I slept for maybe 45 minutes last night because I was giddy with anticipation of all that today brings.

In 1997, when I was in DC, I got up on January 20th, drove (with ease, as opposed to what it was like this morning trying to get into the District) into the District from Alexandria, VA where I lived, parked in my office building's garage, and walked over to the Capitol with my friend Sue where we watched President Bill Clinton take the oath for his second term as President. It was a cold, gray day, but the excitement was palpable. As we stood on the West Lawn, I remember it was crowded, but nothing like the pictures of today.

After President Clinton was sworn in, we walked back down Pennsylvania Avenue to find seats for the parade and hung out for a couple of hours.

That night Kelly and I spent at the Western States Inaugural Ball at the Hilton Washington (where Reagan was shot) working in the Green Room and hobnobbing with the celebrities - Joe Walsh from the Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Thelonious Monk Jr. and Jimmy Smits, to name just a few. I remember when Jimmy Smits came in, I looked at Kelly and we decided we had to ask him to if we could have a picture. Frankly, it might not have been the coolest thing to do that night, but we had to ask. Graciously, he agreed.

Kelly, Jimmy Smits, and Me at the Western States Inaugural Ball, January 20, 1997

We had a great time that night and saw President and Mrs. Clinton. Without a doubt, it was a night I'll never forget.

But today is different. The feelings are different. The world is different.

It's no secret that I am no fan of President Bush (oh look - he's leaving in less than 90 minutes and I can finally refer to him as "President" without throwing up a little!) and I still believe that the 2000 election was stolen. Don't argue with me on this because you will never convince me. I wish he'd never been president to be sure. But I wonder if this day wouldn't be possible if the last 8 years hadn't happened.

Wouldn't it be ironic if the worst U.S. President's legacy was making it possible for the first African-American President to be elected? And then if that man, Barack Obama, turned out to be the greatest U.S. President ever? That may well be Bush's legacy and if it is, I suppose the old adage about it being darkest before the dawn is said for a reason.

1 comment:

  1. Nice story (and picture!). I completely agree about the 2000 election being stolen, and I'm very intrigued by your theory on Bush's legacy. I'd actually been thinking about that very same thing -- in a "normal" election could Obama have been elected? I'd like to think that he could - even if he were white his is an amazing story, and he's everything I'd hope for in a leader. Regardless of how he got here, I'm just delighted he's here!


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