Witnessing history: January 20, 2009

As I write this, there are less than 24 hours left until Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States. I can't even begin to express what this feels like.

Just thinking of the part where Bush finally leaves Washington causes my heart to soar. I have this image of the Pigpen character in Charles Shultz's Peanuts - he leaves a wake of dirt wherever he goes. Only in W's case, it's death and destruction left in his wake and it will take more than a broom and a brush to clean up the mess he's made. So much of it is irreparable - lives lost unnecessarily - and so many rights have been trampled, so much environmental and economic damage done that some of it will take many lifetimes to heal.

But I don't want to dwell on the negative today; I've been doing that for 8 years. I want to celebrate this awesome occasion!

I don't remember being excited about an inauguration before - well, the truth of it is, I've never been excited about a President before. And I can just feel the excitement, the energy around me building. I believe the US has been on a downward spiral for a long time and the only thing to save us from complete collapse requires something to shake it up, to change the course. I'm not about to put all of the burden on Barack Obama, for no one person can achieve that kind of goal, it's a setup for failure. But the essence of what his election represents is what gives me hope - that enough people in this country have seen that the path we've been on is unsustainable and we need to radically change the way we live and work and eat and treat each other. Obama is not only a symbol of this change, but has the qualities needed to inspire others to do the work that needs to be done.

I believe that Obama and his administration have no grand ulterior motives as Bush/Cheney did, that when he swears tomorrow to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution they will not be empty words, there will be no unspoken subtext. I have to believe this.

And - how cool is it to see this African American family move into the White House? this mansion that symbolizes the best and the worst of this country. I remember hearing someone right after the election say they wish they could be witness to the arrival of the Obamas, greeting the mostly Black house staff - what pride on both sides there will be.

I have to say it. I'm worried for Barack Obama. I'm scared that some wacko or wackos will do their best to take him out. I don't think our nation could survive a tragedy like that. I don't want to think about it, but in these days when people gun down classrooms of students, anything is possible. So that's where most of my prayers are directed; I don't feel a need to pray that Obama will do the right thing most of the time. But I do pray for his health and safety.

So, this time tomorrow, the US will have a new President, most of the world will celebrate and we can begin to move forward at last! Free at last! Free at last!

What are your hopes, dreams and fears about the new administration?

One more thing - a bumpersticker spotted:
2009: The End of an Error.

The wonderful photo above taken by Doug Mills, NYT .



Diane said...

I don't pray, really, but I've said a few for him. I just hope he (and his administration) is able to prove the nay-sayers wrong (I'm surrounded by nay-sayers and I'm tired of it, quite frankly). We definitely need change... and I'm with you in that I HAVE to believe this change is for the better. Fingers crossed.

gwenlyn said...

I hope our grandchildren will one day ask us "What was it like to see such an historical event?" and we can share the hope of the many years tomorrow will bring!

Anonymous said...

Well said. I'm sooo excited. And happy to put 8 years behind us and move on.

Irish said...

I saw a bumper sticker not too long ago that read "Frodo Failed. Bush has the Ring" It cracked me up and also made me said because it seemed all too true. Some sort of magic had to be in place for W. to win not once...but twice.

I'm also with Diane. I know many people who have such negative things to say about the coming years. Saying that Obama is going to ruin us. That our country is going to be attacked because he is president. And other such things. I am tired of bitter Republicans. Get over it already! Support your elected president just as Democrats would be supporting McCain right now.

Tomorrow will be a day to remember and I for one can't wait for it.

aluvalibri said...

I am grateful to be able to witness such an event. After eight years of misery, some hope at last!
It would be irrational to think that Obama will be able to fix all the problems created by the previous administration, after all he is only human! But I am sure he will do his best, and I hope everyone will join to help as much as possible.

Wendy said...

Terrific post, Terri. I have a myriad of emotions ...

I am excited to see a man of intelligence and vision stepping up to the office. He inspires. He's positive. He gives hope each time he opens his mouth and speaks so eloquently.

I am afraid...that the Washington politics will steal his optimism, that the naysayers will do much to try to bring him down, that the expectation of him is so high that he will not be able to live up to it.

I'm filled with hope that we finally, finally have a man to lead our nation whose sincerity matches his ability. And I might add, one who can deliver an address without stumbling over simple words.

Finally, I am relieved that the Bush era is OVER...maybe now the US can be the leader to help heal the world instead of taking it apart.

Andi said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm full of joy and hope and excitement and pride! It'll be a wonderful, wonderful day!

Terri said...

Perhaps we won't have to hear "nucular" ever again.

Ruth said...

It's finally here!

Terri, are you taping it? I'm working right through, darnit! It'll probably be all over youtube, though.

I got choked up this morning listening to the NPR story about going to DC on the bus...

Laurie said...

I dream of a just, peaceful and sustainable future.

I hope we get atmospheric carbon down to 350 ppm -it's at 385 now.

I fear that if we don't everything else we do will be lost.

I'm listening to Amy Goodman report on the Inauguration with Bob Moses and Alice Walker - hmmm - it doesn't get much better than this.


Caspette said...

Terri a lovely post. I share your fears and hopes for the Obama family.

Obama is a breath of fresh air badly needed by America and the World. Hopefully with new leaders in place in the western countries the world can move forward to a better place.

Hope you enjoyed the broadcast.