I just came off the inauguration, and I loved it. Barack Obama is hawkish like he needs to be, enigmatic and stern despite the fact that everyone on earth thinks mistakenly that he's their boyfriend/friend. I loved the performances (hello, clarinet? Who knew you were an instrument of angels), the poetry, Aretha's beautiful hat, the fittingly dark and somber ghost-written presidential address, all the God references (hey, I'm religious--I'm not so sure the atheists out there were as comfortable with it as I was).
But the stand-out as far as I'm concerned was the Rev Joseph Lowery. He packed a wallop with his growly octogenarian voice and religious fervor. He also delivered the finest words of the day:
"I'm equally certain that we will continue to pray for justice to roll down as waters, and for that day when there will be peace in the valley, and for that day when every man and every woman will sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none will be afraid, and for that day when black will not be asked to get back, brown can stick around, yellow will be mellow, the red man can get ahead, man, and white will embrace what is right! Amen!"
In that moment, like it or not, formality went out of style, people had the sticks forcibly pulled from their butts, and even our frowny president just had to grin. Thank you Rev Lowery for cracking wise with such dignity.
My cynicism is intact, though, rest assured. I still wish that darned Obama had used his own words (see post below). Sigh. Maybe someday.
UPDATED: I'm already seeing the critiques of Lowery's rhyme round and about the interwebs--seems the stick is still wedged up there, at least in some cases. Why does everything have to be so careful? so precious? I guess this is exactly why Obama needs a speechwriter who reworks every utterance to death before it can be trotted out in public.
And on another note, Hedgie watched the inauguration at school, with great interest. I blew her mind out when I told her that Obama's speech wasn't his own. She said she was shocked--she thought that not only were those his words, but that he was speaking right off the cuff. I guess it's a testament to his terrific speaking ability. God I felt like I was telling her the tooth fairy didn't exist. She also told me that it was "hard to have a mama who doesn't always agree with everyone else about politics." (everyone else being the far left leaning liberals in our incredibly rarified neck of the woods). I told her "I'm a free thinker, Hedgehog, and it's good for you to grow up in a free-thinking household. You need to learn how to think for yourself and not always go along blindly with the herd." She said, "you're right, mama, but it's hard." I said "You bet it's hard, but it's the most important thing you'll ever have to learn."
This came on the heels of a conversation we had this morning when she said "all war is bad." I said, "what about when we had to fight the Nazis in WWII so that we could stop them from killing all the Jews?" She said, "Okay, maybe not that war, but all other wars. Like Iraq." I said, "why is Iraq a bad war?" She said, "I admit, I don't know that much about it." I reminded her that she could certainly have opinions, but that those opinions needed to be informed. I know that the parents of her friends, well by and large, offer their strong opinions to their children, but never really explain their reasoning. It's like they think the kids are old enough to take on their politics, but too young to really be offered facts and explanations. Drives me insane in the membrane.