Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let Freedom Ring!

Yes, as you can see at right, I was one of the 1.8 or 2 million or so folks on the National Mall today to watch Barack Obama sworn in as president.

I was an early supporter of Obama, but also not afraid to say that I've been underwhelmed by a number of his appointments so far. I hope I'm wrong about that. There's just way too much at stake.

Today for me, however, was also a chance to watch the end of an absolutely devastating eight years of American politics in person. It is impossible to sum up the havoc wreaked on our country and the world by the Bush Administration -- from the recount shenanigans of 2000 in Florida to the squandering of national unity after September 11 to the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses (and pretenses known by the perpetrators to be false) to the shredding of our constitution and the commission of manifold war crimes to the orgy of greed and financial brinksmanship that's left millions of ordinary people suffering.

And it was all done in our name -- to our enduring shame. That is the legacy of George W. Bush. And to be there as it was swept away, peacefully, so that healing and rebuilding can begin, was a privilege that I was not going to miss -- despite the frigid weather.

We're starting out in hope. We desperately need the promised change. The opportunity to start again began today. And I was thinking that amidst all the pomp on the Mall, maybe the most fitting soundtrack would have been the best American political song of the last 30 years, a song that takes in the repression and viciousness that we've been suffering through and holds out the promise that it can be undone -- REM's "Begin the Begin":

Lets begin again begin the begin
Lets begin again!

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

REM instead of the 4 boys from North Dublin!

Sarah Franco said...

definitely REM...

From a distance, it seemed that the prevailing mood on the inauguration was of hope for a better future, relief for what is being left behind but that the euphoria that marked the final phase of the campaing and election night have given place to a more prudent approach...

that mood also found expression on Obama's speech...

but I wasn't there so can you confirm if my impression is accurate?

Lives in Washington DC said...

I think you are precisely correct, Sarah! Thanks for reading!