The inauguration

I should have posted about Barack Obama’s inauguration days ago, when all of this was more relevant. But I didn’t have much to say that was insightful or eloquent. Of course the event was thrilling, and inspiring. It’s great to have a new president, and, as I’ve said before, what a president he is. The simplest, best element of this new reality is that this Washington Post headline could be written: “Obama Starts Reversing Bush Policies.”

One TPM reader less than a year older than me perfectly summarized my feelings about the day and the new era beginning:

From TPM Reader AH …

George Bush was sworn in just before my 13th birthday, and i really the only president I’ve ever known (aside from my passing awareness of Lewinsky-era Clinton). I’ve never known a world in which government could be trusted, or where I really thought the president’s administration had noble aims. I think the Bush administration has bred a deep cynicism in people my age who’ve never known better. Now, a few weeks before my 21st birthday, Obama’s inauguration means that, for the first time in my life, I’ll be able to believe in government, and feel like it’s actually my government. For the first time I can remember, government can be, as it should be, a force for good and decency.

My appreciation for the event of the inauguration, however, was tempered by my unfair disdain for all the people I know skipping school to head to Washington. I have ideas about good and bad reasons to miss out on obligations, and symbolic ceremonies don’t count as a good reason by my prejudiced logic. Plus the inauguration fell almost six years to the day (six years and two days) after I felt moved to head to Washington. That day I was with only about a hundred thousand other people, not one-and-a-half million, and we were trying to stop a war, not welcome a new president. It would have been nice if as many people as wanted to see Barack Obama inaugurated had decided to come to Washington on January 18, 2003. Maybe it (I should should own up to my agency and say “we”) would have made a difference. But by now, in part because of that experience, I don’t believe strongly in protests. So I don’t know. This is about as deep as my acknowledged hypocrisy and bias goes. Anyway, I’m glad Obama’s in office.

Here‘s the YDN editorial I wrote after Obama’s address yesterday.

And here’s the most visually beautiful thing to come out of the event (even though I don’t understand how or why inaugural balls still exist):

P.S. On another subject, here‘s another editorial I penned last week, commending Yale for rejecting the SAT’s new Score Choice option.

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