Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Trimming My Bush

The world officially changed hands yesterday. In the most charged-up inauguration I've ever seen, the man everyone feels comfortable calling "Barack" became President Obama in front of record numbers. It was all terribly exciting.

In recent years we've heard many exasperated Americans say they want to hop the border and become something better, something Canadian. Wrapped in Anderson Cooper's warm embrace, watching the highly-anticipated ceremony, I felt, for the first time, what they meant: I kinda wanted to be an American. Perhaps it's just pop culture run amok, but the Office of the President of the United States crosses borders; he's not just the Commander in Chief (god I miss that show; sweet, sweet Geena Davis) to a select few 300 million, but truly the leader of the free world. For the past 8 years or so, it's been a bone of contention, but today I feel very buzz-wordy. I feel very hopeful.

Not since JFK and Jackie stylishly ruled the roost has there been a young, vibrant couple in this position. And who doesn't like two beautiful first children in the White House? Malia and Sasha will grow up before our eyes, which we haven't really seen since Chelsea Clinton publicly shook the teenage-uglies. Unlike the former administration, these people actually represent something. They're not members of any old school boys' clubs, they're not old money. They haven't been groomed since birth to perform these duties. For all intents and purposes, they are normal people. They seem to share our values.

What I like most about President Obama is the sarcastic glint in his eye. I bet he's an eye-roller in meetings. I bet he'll sigh impatiently when someone is wasting his time. Not that he doesn't seem like a decent and lovely man - I, for one, enjoy a well-placed and biting flash of arrogance. His inaugural speech was cutting in all the right ways; he raked Bush over the coals by way of subtle and passive aggressive implications. I love the boldness in standing three feet from the man who dug America's grave, stating that his administration will allow America to "lead once more". If CNN had been more vindictive, they might have cut to Bush squirming in his chair.

And I love the new First Lady. I love how she's a bit awkward in a skirt, a little uncomfortable in a gown. I like that you could see her biting her cheeks when Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the Oath of Office, trying not to laugh out loud at her husband's floundering, a clenched smile forming. She's not a wall flower, not a mindless figurehead interested only in hosting brunches. She's a modern woman, seems a bit brassy, down to earth, no one's political accessory. And what a couple. Equals, even in physical stature, they probably have giggle fits in bed watching their TiVo'd 30 Rock, the girls asleep down the hall.

In his speech President Obama spoke of "the price and promise of citizenship", calling out for a renewed sense of individual responsibility to the nation and to our fellow Americans - Oh, wait, I did it again. There's just something about him, something so diametrically opposed to the hooligan we've dealt with for these many years, something that makes him everyone's leader, a man who makes me proud to live in this time in history. The world changed hands and I feel hope.


  1. oh - so well put! i agree with everything you said. wholeheartedly. you hit the nail right on the head. i said so many times that day "i wish he were OUR prime minister..." ahhhh to dream...

  2. Funny to be reading this tonight...