Monday, December 29, 2008
Future So Bright
I don't think I can watch the inauguration. I imagine I'll get too overwhelmed. The effect will be similar to the consequence of looking directly at the sun. I will have to look away lest I burn my eyes. It is simply too much to absorb. An abundance of bright must be as harmful as an abundance of dark, right? I will have to record the inauguration and fast forward through parts or I'll watch it in bits and pieces via media reports and youtube and facebook postings. Out of sequence it won't pack the same punch and then at least I'll be able to stay in control of myself, manage my emotions and maintain my dignity. I want to watch it with everyone else. I do. I want to be a part of this collective experience and take the first new step into this new world. It will be something, right? Of course the only thing worse than my not being able to handle my emotions if my great expectations are met would be my not being able to handle my emotions if my great expectations are not met. I admit I may be putting a bit too much on this particular day and it's meaning and the symbolism but there is a reason. I have a confession to make. I think Barack Obama's historic acceptance speech in Grant Park was kind of a downer. First of all he looked exhausted (understandably), depressed (remember, his grandmother just died) and profoundly world weary. (Duh.) In his speech he reminded the masses over and over again that things wouldn't happen overnight and the country is currently in the crapper. He continually put the responsibility of change on us citizens and he even prophesied that the needs of the country would likely not be met in one term. He was utterly and achingly truthful and real. His feet were firmly planted on the ground which kept me from drifting up to clouds despite the fact that so many others listening seemed to be headed there. A few days after the election I began to float upward on the endless possibilities his presidency could offer. As I wrote in a previous post ("Oh, the Audacity"--posted 11/10)"...from now until January 20th and for some time after I'll track Michelle's fashion trends, collect Obama collectibles, anxiously await the name of their dog and the school the girls will attend, and anticipate Barack's appearances, speeches and actions like a good old fashioned stargazer. I am going to revel in the new "Camelot" and "for the first time in my adult life" I will let myself experience the "audacity of hope"." But January 20th is fast approaching and I grow more cautious with each passing day. I want to be obliviously happy and hopeful and unrealistic and ignorant on the day but I'm afraid Obama's earnest realism won't allow it. I want to hear a speech for the ages that carries me through the good and bad times ahead. I know Obama is capable but I'm afraid his pesky propensity for the truth will get in the way. This country loves to build people up then knock them down. How long will it be until sentiments of "Obama the Great" are replaced with sentiments of "Obama the Terrible"? The first one hundred days will be more scrutinized than any other presidency in history I'm sure and it will be like a roller coaster ride with more twists and turns than the newest ride at Great America. Ah well. I have twenty more days to live in denial or start mentally preparing for the future which as we all know will rush toward us relentlessly whether we want it to or not. There is one guarantee, though. January 20th will certainly be something to remember. The moment will burn bright despite the result. Maybe I'll wear shades.