Regardless of how you look at it, today is monumental. I was awake by 5am, flipping between different news stations AND live streaming on the web. I kind of made it my task to observe the coverage of the Inauguration of our 44th President. I was on ABC for a long time, until I made my way back to my favorite, MSNBC. In my opinion, they have the best videography. Not to mention, Brian Williams is witty and easy on the eyes. I also like MSNBC reporter, Kelly O'Donnell, a lot. She has a very intelligent, compassionate, and thorough reporting style. Local news coverage in my area was seriously disappointing. Two of the anchors for a Fox News station actually sang "Hail to the Chief" live on air. SANG IT. And badly.
I found it interesting the way all the political figures accessorized their outfits. Did anyone else notice? Obama had on a red tie, Bush II had on a blue tie. I thought the reversal was kind of cool. Most of the others seemed to wear their political party. The colors purple and yellow, were apparently neutral. Former President Bush and his wife both used purple scarves to complement their outfits. Our new First Lady wore yellow. Sorry, these are things I would notice.
It was also noticeable that no two (Former) Presidents recieved the same kind of attention during their procession out to the masses. Did I imagine booing mixed with cheering during Former President Carter's entrance? Hmm. I think our 41st President (Bush Sr.) is so cute! I feel like he'd be fun to hang out with, nice guy, and the crowd was decently welcoming to him. Former President Clinton's expression was unreadable as he stepped outside with Sen. Clinton. He seemed...uncomfortable, but was received warmly. My heart goes out to W in many respects. Regardless of what he did or did not do, he is a good man. I don't think he was given the appreciation he deserved when he faced the American people today. (We'll get back to that.) President Obama looked ironically alone as he walked out towards the people, but once he reached the opening of that hallway, he was anything BUT alone.
It was beautiful to see so many people come together for a common goal, one cause, and united without regard to race or status. And to hear God's name mentioned throughout the event, was refreshing. Interesting how people are less prone to object to the mixing of church and state, when they are in favor of the leader. The invocation by Dr. Rick Warren was a bold, bold prayer. And that musical performance by Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill was so moving. That was the first time I shed tears during the Inauguration coverage. (The only other time was when I thought about the criticism Bush II faced during his term.) Music does that. Yo-Yo Ma's cello was made from carbon fiber. How BA is that? People tend to describe President Barack as one possessing an inner and outer peace and calm. I'd say that disappeared briefly when he was sworn in this morning. Slight oops, hm? I listened intently to his Inaugural Speech. He kind of speaks as if he were preaching. I want to know what Obama defines as the "demands of a new age" that he hopes colleges and universities will meet. Elucidate on that.
I recieved Rev. Lowery's benediction with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I loved it when he prayed, "In the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate. On the side of inclusion, not exclusion. Tolerance, not intolerance." On the other hand, it bothered me greatly when he said, "We ask You to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yella will be mella, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right." To my fellow Asian-Americans, is that really ok with you? Those statements alone, are just a whole bunch of stereotypes jumbled together and I am NOT ok with it. I asked myself, "What was the point of that whole thing?"
Back to Former President George W. I wish I could know what was going through his head today. His body language and expressions demonstrated a gracious leave. I'm curious about what Mr. and Mrs. Bush said to their son at breakfast and during the helicopter ride back to TX. I think it's easy to scrutinize others and criticize mistakes, when it is the general opinion. I can't object to the status of the current economic crisis that we are left with today. But is the blame all on President Bush, or should we examine how people's greed is at the root of it. President Bush has made certain decisions in error, but no one is perfect. I also believe he loves our country and tried to make decisions with what he thought were our best interests in mind. I feel his motives have been correct, and he has not acted out of selfish ambition. The fact that he acknowledged making mistakes, shows humility, and I give him a lot of credit for that. He was not dealt an easy hand from the beginning, but he never gave up...despite great lack of support from many Americans. Even if I didn't vote for or like a particular President, I will still respect whoever steps into that role. For me, it is no different with President Bush.
I want to end on President Obama. His quiet confidence and assured words have been inspiring to many. In fact, shortly after the November election, he had already turned many cynics into believers. It only bothers me when people play the race card all too often with Obama, or support him because he's black. It definitely says a lot that our new President is African-American, but I don't think that should be the only reason some people are his supporters. I also don't think it shows much intelligence when all someone can say is, "My President is Black". But don't get me wrong, I am not callous to the historical significance of it all. I hate bandwagon supporters that are too often young Americans. All this to say: know who our President is and the current state of affairs in our country. I hope that most of those who support Obama do so because of his professed dedication to reform. He is charismatic, I give him that. Charismatic in a way that you can't help but want to listen and root for him to turn things around. So my open-mindedness says, today we have a 44th President and whether or not I voted for him, I am willing to give him a chance. He promises hope and change. I want to see results.