Tuesday was a big day for America – perhaps not as big as Aretha Franklin’s hat, but awe-inspiring and historic nonetheless. This incredible day was broadcast to every corner of the planet – via the powerful satellite on Aretha’s head. Yes, today I am truly proud to be an American once again. We finally have a president who not only espouses a very real belief in freedom and democracy, but also knows how to spell these big words.
Even though I wanted to begin this weekly blog with my usually sarcastic worldview, this is a time to celebrate. I have been riding high on a wave of jubilation all day – especially when I saw George W. Bush get on a plane and head back to Texas. Sure, those kamikaze birds missed a perfectly good opportunity to give the old cowboy a little turbulence, but at least he is gone. Mission accomplished. When they rolled Cheney into the inauguration in his wheelchair, I thought to myself, ‘Gee, what is Mr. Potter doing here? George Bailey better watch out!’
The Bush years were so depressingly bad that I seriously contemplated leaving America. I could go to Paris and sit in cafes, reading philosophy books and smoking like a bitter expatriate. My father was a Vietnam veteran who taught me the important lesson that government and politicians in general were crooks, so Bush’s evil reign of power only confirmed and deepened my cynicism. As far as I am concerned, I trust politicians to be honest with the American public like I trust Sarah Palin to be honest on her Mensa application.
And yet Obama even inspires someone as cynical as me. How could my generation not idolize a man like this? He is the epitome of cool, with great intellect, spirit, determination, a genuine love of his country and supremely kick-ass taste in music. When I saw Bono sing ‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ1t06Ytp1E) on the steps of the Lincoln Monument, in the same place where my parents heard Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream so many years ago, something stirred in me. Excuse my corny sentimentality, but I think the real America is ready to wake up and dream out loud again.