Unlike others whom I have read about on the web, I spent the really weepy time (election night) by myself and witnessed today as part of a crowd.
The day started off ok but quickly went downhill for the first class. I had made arrangements for a large room — big enough for three groups — and for a television that could get cable inside the building. The television wasn’t there on time, and when it finally arrived, it wasn’t cable ready. I went back downstairs and got the laptop/projector cart, but the network was slow and CNN wouldn’t run. I got some noise from one of my co-workers, while another just wanted to coast on what I had already planned.
During my off-hour, I tried to watch CNN or ABC in my office, but both of them stalled out. When I got up to go to my third hour class the whole floor was empty. It seems that I didn’t get the memo that the Director had decided that everyone could go to one of the areas where the inauguration was being broadcast at the university.
When I got to the auditorium, it was already packed, so I sat on an aisle step just as Obama and CJ Roberts were doing the oath of office. At the end, the entire room erupted in cheers, whistles and applause. I didn’t cry like I thought I would. It was a moment of great pride.
While listening to Obama’s address — having heard Reagan’s twice on right wing radio already that morning — I especially appreciated the part when he stated that it’s not about the size of government, but rather whether or not it works. (Remember Reagan claimed that government was the problem. This has been an argument that many of us have had with the “drown the baby” crowd. Just because there is fraud in the system doesn’t mean that a program is bad — it might, but it might also just need more oversight or fine tuning.
The speech was just right — not too much nor too little. I’ve heard parts of in since I got home, and I will certainly look back on it in the days and weeks to come.
I stayed for the poem and the benediction — which I loved — especially the shot of Al Gore with his eyes closed in prayer but with a happy grin on his face. I know where not happy about the last part of the prayer, but it’s because they just don’t get it. As I left the auditorium, I felt relieved. He’s at work and the people around him are competent and we can turn this around.
For those who studiously ignored the events of this day, I pity your pettiness. For me and a whole lot of people across the country today, it was with pride and hope and a look forward that I see this day.