I missed Obama taking the oath. I was busy working. My daughter got to see it, and was thrilled by it. She's four, and I thought that was pretty neat. She and I watched the news coverage up until the moment I had to leave for work. She took the opportunity to tell me that people sometimes treat people with brown skin badly, and that there is no real reason for that because it shouldn't matter what color skin you have.
I'm often proud of her. She's a smart kid. Wise beyond the four years she's spent on this planet. I was very proud of her then. She wanted to be part of history. I didn't spoil it by talking about my views. She knows them. This was her moment to take in something that she knew was special.
A lot of other people felt the same way.
My feelings on presidents, including this one, are well known. Seeing all those people that excited about politics, change, and the sense of history made me smile, though. Even if they forget about things like neoliberalism, NAFTA, Haliburton and so on tomorrow, today they were aware that politics could be more than just something you read about. It could be (and is) something you actively participate in. Granted, all they were doing was showing up, but in this country, that actually means something.
The news was full of the usual nonsense. Who made the First Lady's dress? Obama likes Spider-Man comic books. What kind of dog should they get? How can they make life normal for the kids? Fluff is easier to digest. We all know that. The mainstream media lost any sense of newsworthiness once their corporate owners started to get smarter.
But today that was okay. Those streets were packed. People were crying. They were stopping what they were doing. They were in awe. They were watching history unfold, and they were proud. If just ten percent of them become more politically aware (even if they don't agree with me on the issues -- and they won't), then that will be better for us all. An informed citizen is a dangerous citizen, and a dangerous citizen is my kind of people.
Where there is hope, there is fire. The advocates of cannibalistic capitalism, racism, anti-intellectualism, jingoism and hegemony should take note. The people watching that oath, the ones who took off work, the ones with tears in their eyes, they are the ones who believe that one word on Shepard's poster.
At some point it may strike them that not only is the status quo corrupt, but that they can change it. It may suddenly make sense to them why some people riot when cops shoot unarmed men in the back. It may make them want to pick up a brick, or write a letter, or call a radio show, or vote outside the party lines. Obama's rhetoric, as inspirational as it may seem to be, may actually lead to his undoing ... and the undoing of this whole cancer-ridden system.
If all those people in the streets today said "no more," they could not be stoppped.
Here's to hope ...