Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Out with the Old and In with the New... A Tale of Pomp, Circumstance, and Mixed Feelings

I'm officially five Presidents old now, having lived through Reagan, two Bushes, Clinton, and now Obama. (Man, you feel old when you measure you life in terms of Presidential terms!) Confession number 784: I love inaugurations. Maybe it's the history nerd in me or the sappy patriot or the lover of all things traditional, cultural, and classy, but this stuff just give me chill bumps. I think I'm going to have to make it a life goal to attend one some day.

Today's ceremonies did raise conflicting reactions in me, however. On one hand, it was incredible to see history unfold right before my eyes. It will likely go down as one of the defining moments of my generation and one of those "Where were you...?" memories...right up there with September 11 and the death of Princess Diana. Twas quite a momentous occassion right down to the details. I love that Obama was sworn in on the same Bible Lincoln used in 1861. Yay for rare books and beautiful irony! And while I'm a total sucker for momentous occasions and all things historic, it wasn't all hearts and rainbows today.

I worry that our country may be suffering from celebrity fever. Granted, President Obama is a pretty charismatic guy, and I totally respect him as a classy gentleman who loves his country and has a wonderful, hardworking spirit, but I still cringed a little when I heard all those people chanting his name. Isn't it a bit early to be chanting the man's name just for some (albeit hopeful) campaign promises? What exactly has he actually done in the grand scheme of things so far? I do so hope his presidency is a fabulously successful one because we're in some deep valleys right now, but I can't understand why I'd want to buy an Obama commemorative porcelain plate that advocates the slogan of change for $99.95 when the man just took office today.

I do wish our new President the best of luck, and I am excited about what ideas he might have to change things for the better, but as he said himself in his speech today, no one man can change a country by himself. Change starts with each American, and if we want our economy to look brighter, then we had better stop buying things we can't afford. Poor George Bush has to endure all the blame for the dismal economy that Americans ourselves screwed up in the first place.

Speaking of President Bush, watching the ceremony today, I couldn't help but notice what a crappy job we do of saying thanks to our outgoing presidents. A brief introduction...then we push them onto a helicopter like recluses. What a great way to show gratitude to the men who have the toughest job in the world. I know one thing though: I believe the happiest man in America right now is sitting happily and contently on his back porch on a quiet ranch in Texas and watching the stars with his lovely former First Lady (and, you know, 50 Secret Service guys). Thanks for doing your best, Mr. President, and forgive us for disrespecting you so. Enjoy your retirement! And, Mrs. Bush, I'm proud to join your profession...thanks for making us librarians look so elegant and for constantly reminding the country just how important libraries are...and thanks for bringing classy back!

And to our new President, may God grant you wisdom and strength to make the right decisions for our nation. You're in my prayers. Enjoy your new crib, and get those cute girls a puppy!

P.S.: Michelle, your dress was awesome. :)

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