Inauguration Day

I woke up this morning with a cough, stomachache, headache and sore back.  No appointments today except babysitting, and I wanted to see the inauguration.   Jan needed the day to prepare for the long city council meeting tonight.  I decided to stay in bed watching on our snowy, cable-less TV as long as possible.  Claire got here with Lucas during the oath of office.  The baby was happy to sit next to me with his two Thomas train cars, though he kept looking at me anxiously when I cried, before, during and after the speech.

Obama carries the public pain of these last eight years along with the historical pain of African-Americans on light and supple shoulders.  The evocations of Martin Luther King and Lincoln mix with those of Michael Jordan. His language is exquisite. His sternness and smiles overpower me like my father’s when I was two.

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

I believe every word of this. But I only feel that satisfaction sometimes, because I know how hard it is to give my all, and I cant always do it.

Last night I finished work on a speech for the Focus the Nation Teach-In on February 5. To juxtapose it with the President’s utterance today is  hybris.  But at various moments while I watched and wept this morning, pieces of it came into my mind and made me both ashamed and proud.

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