This blog is written to reflect my IRL persona, that is, cynical, skeptical and political. I always hurt the ones I love. For this post, all snark aside, I want to share one brief moment from the Inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Watching the ceremonies at the Washington Monument, a great swarm of humanity huddled around the rhetorical warmth of the Jumbotron display. From a physical distance of less than a mile, the people that day were nonetheless watching the same televised feed as were happy Democrats as far away as Seattle - so close and yet so far. Their proximity clearly was an emotional closeness. The National Mall was dusty and frozen. There was no rational motivation to be there on January 20th. Still, there they were, like penguins in Antarctica, braving a chosen wilderness in pursuit a fleeting, immaterial reward. I know their mindset; I was with them.
The mood of the proletariat oozed out onto the ground, like the detritus they tossed thoughtlessly onto America's Front Yard. They whooped and hollered for William Jefferson Clinton, and hissed with real menace at the hobbled Dick Cheney. For the outgoing President, George Walker Bush, their vitriol was vicarious. Catcalls before the final curtain, it was an ugly scene.
For Barack Hussein Obama, the mass let forth a cry like none they had before, except perhaps for their respective sport franchises of choice. Fittingly, the man they cheered had built a "brand" the likes of which has never been seen in American politics. Their candidate was a benevolent demagogue and his partisans granted him all the love they could muster. It was all anticipation, this field of human longing, an anticipation most had not experienced since their first amorous touch - or perhaps their last.
Quite gingerly he rose from his seat (same as the others for the dignitaries, collapsible) and the president-to-be placed his hand on a borrowed Bible. To my right a boy, maybe seven years old, had been croaking and clucking along with our joyous ululations, providing his own unique vocabulary to an epic poem. His father had held him at his side during the invocation and had chided him for letting his belongings get soiled in the dust. But before the Chief Justice could even begin the ritual, the boy shouted, "Daddy's already crying!"
The anticipation was just too much. The man was crying, openly. His candidate was not yet anointed, but he let his son see him weep. Was it a showing of courage before his boy or a gratuitous act of indulgence? I can't say. I think he'll never know a prayer as sweet.
That's what I saw at the inauguration. In spite of myself, I cried, too.