Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why I just can't write about President Obama's inauguration

I have no words. I suppose with some distance from this day, I will be able articulate what the inauguration of President Barack Obama feels like. But not now.
I watched Barack Obama's inauguration in my office, surrounded by a handful of co-workers, on a little 13-inch television with "rabbit ears." There was an awkwardness to the gathering--the kind that always results when the political makes an appearance in the workplace. I would describe the mood as decorous jubilation. It seemed right to swallow my emotions in a situation like that. 
And my emotions are roiling. I have suffered a lumpy throat and leaky eyes more than once today...watching a montage of images from Obama's campaign scored by Sam Cooke singing "A Change is Gonna Come"...watching Rep. John Lewis and Rev. James Lowery--two lions of the civil rights movement--watch the swearing in of the nation's first black president...spotting an ailing Sen. Ted Kennedy for the first time since the Democratic National Convention and then watching him rushed away in an ambulance...seeing the blanket of celebrating Americans spread out for miles along the mall...getting an excited text message from my stepson at the moment our new president was sworn into office...hearing our new president give a speech that honestly outlined the hard road ahead and forcefully heralded the return of bedrock progressive values that have been absent over the past eight years.
It is overwhelming. And I am no Elizabeth Alexander. So I simply cannot write about President Obama's inauguration.
Links to people who are writing about President Obama today:


mrshadow33 said...

It's okay Tami, just soak this wonderful moment in our history into yourself and write about it when you are ready. I know that it will be excellent as always.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed in James Lowery's closing comments. "White will embrace what is right" did not inspire unification, especially after most whites voted for Obama.

MacDaddy said...

Tami, I'm with you. I've been a reporter for three newspapers, a commentator for one, but I'm too emotional to be able to capture the inaugural moment. Yes, I can say that I loved Obama's speech, that I loved watching some of the civil rights "lions" watch Obama pledge to lead the nation, that I love the fact that Rev. Lowery, one of my personal heroes have the last words (I'm from Atlatna and Know Lowery and John Lewis well. They're courageous people). But I can't put into words how much this means to older blacks than me, people who were not allowed to vote, people who were humiliated each and every single day apartheid in a country that talked about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness..." A country that talked about "justice and liberty for all."

Tami, since I couldn't put into words, I went to my turntable and put on Sam Cookes's song, " A change is gonna come." He wrote that song after he was not allowed to stay in a hotel because he was black." I pushed the repeat button and just listened to it over and over again. That was the best I could do.

MilesPerHour said...

I think we all have thoughts and hopes with the new president. I will be one to "fight" those that will try to tear us down during these next four years.

As joyful and hopeful as many of us are, I already heard two conservative pundits on the radio yesterday spewing negative comments. It makes me all the more vigilent of doing what I can do to make sure their "poison" has an antedote in my actions.

Count me in Mr. President. I'm in.

quarter-life-crisis said...

Are you living in Atlanta working at the same place I am? LOL I say this because I was at work with a handful of coworkers watching it on a 13 inch TV with rabbit ears!!! LOL!!! While some coworkers (who we know and LOUDLY proclaim Mr. McCain) pep in to see was in the conference room. It took everything in body not to show emotion the entire time at work! I watched CNN Live all day while at work and then raced home to watch the news and the ball. I should be all Obama out, but I am far from it.


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