Watching history in the making
I woke up at ten thirty and leisurely stumbled downstairs, where my mom casually reminded me that in little more than an hour, the first African American President of the United States would be sworn into office. It was a fact I had quietly forgotten.
My family has always been politically involved, but we’ve never been a group that pays much attention to the ceremonies of office. As I sat down with my bowl of cereal to watch old presidents march among mixed applause and greetings, I noticed quickly that we may be unique in this regard.
Every channel our TV picked up was broadcasting the event from different camera angles. There were so many people crammed into the National Mall that even in my comfortable home, I felt the need to stretch and cast off some silent sense of claustrophobia.
Schools let class out early in order to conduct inauguration viewings. History was expected by all; the kind that would define a generation. Barack Obama probably could have stayed home and the impression would still have been made. If enough people anticipate something, that anticipation can be enough to make its own history.
Obama’s speech wasn’t the explosive cliche we all expected. There was no “Yes We Can” or profound insight into the power of hope to grasp onto. Yet, the people watching didn’t seem to mind, and neither did I. Obama has come to represent something much more than just a man. He has come to represent a marker of change, a bringer of tolerance and a new gold standard that will boost the economy simply with his presence. Until he makes a mistake, people will judge him not on what he does, but on what they hope he’ll do (Oh, the audacity!).
I finished my cereal and decided that I was proud of America. We finally elected someone we need.