Posts Tagged ‘Presidency’

Research shows our brain plays tricks on us. Our memories are faulty; not only that, we often feel certain about things that turn out not to be true.  These brain quirks make for faux-pas and awkward moments. Best-selling author and theologist Neale Walsch had to own up to appropriating someone else’s heartwarming story of a spiritual experience as his own. Closer to home, we may know someone who “remembers” marching on Washington, attending Woodstock, watching the Twin Towers fall or, soon enough, seeing the U.S Airways plane land in the Hudson River.

I planned to be at this historic, emotional, long-overdue and endlessly hyped Inaugural. True, I was having doubts about massive crowds, wind chills, Jumbo-trons and porta-potties. I wasn’t sure I was going, but I reserved the right to change my mind at the last minute. I had a standing invitation to stay at a buddy’s house, a few scattered events I could attend and a full tank of gas. I had still considered heading to brave natural and human elements  – until my encounter with a patch of ice (see previous post) ended my dreams of connecting to a part of history.

Not so fast.

This new President is all about being connected.  I’m always getting e-mails and text messages from Team Obama, of  which I’m apparently a member.  Like the campaign, the Inaugural invites participation. There’s something to be said for the virtual involvement allowed by YouTube, Facebook, mybarack.com and CNN on-line. And there’s always television.

So Saturday I watched the Inaugural train make its way from Philadelphia and listened to Obama’s latest YouTube chat. Sunday I had front-row seats at the concert on the Mall; I even danced with Michelle to Stevie Wonder. Monday, I logged onto U.S.A. Service to register my service act – I’ll be volunteering at a woman’s shelter. The political action group Emily’s List invited me to send a personal congratulatory note to the President and Vice-President-elect. I even found some local public events I might attend in place of the Inaugural Balls for which I never had a shot at securing a ticket (although, ever the optimist, I had lined up an escort).

Today, the day of the Inaugural itself, I signed onto Facebook, turned on the TV and poured the first of several cups of coffee. My girlfriend Donna was sending live updates from the Mall via her Blackberry (side note: I say let the President keep his Blackberry). On NBC, Ann Curry noted American flags were everywhere, signifying hope, in her view. We’re back to America as a symbol of hope; I nearly wept. On the TV and computer screens, I saw old people, lots of young people (excellent!), lots of different kinds of people. It looked like a block party or maybe a rock concert. I wished for a minute I was there, and I wished my dad was alive. All normal feelings; I let them wash over me.  I was safe and warm and a witness. So…I posted a picture to Huffington Post of me, my cast and my computer. I exchanged e-mails with far-flung friends and comments with far-flung strangers, stopping to rest my good hand. I watched the procession of dignitaries, enjoyed the musical performances (the quartet was sublime; Aretha was, sorry to say, not at her best), considered the invocations and benedictions to be decent enough, experienced the swearing-in (did this really happen?), absorbed the Speech, which was amazing in its depth and breadth (but did we expect less?), saw the parade, and hung out virtually with millions of people from all over the world. I saw it all, heard it all, felt it all.  I could even have attended a live reception in my hometown but to tell, the truth, I was pretty tired after the day’s activities and excitement. Besides, I had to see the doctor about getting a new cast.

I wasn’t physically in DC for the Inauguration of the 44th President and I won’t remember that I was, but, in a way that is absolutely appropriate to this new, globally connected era, I was there.

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