I know the Obama inauguration is old news, but I can’t seem to get the events of a few days ago out of my head. I dragged the boys down to the basement and fired up our old tv to watch. “It’s history, unfolding in front of us,” I said. Truthfully, they came quite willingly because, let’s face it, it’s not everyday that mom chooses television over math and english.

We started watching just as the Obama children arrived. I kept trying to emphasize for the boys the significance of the day. Put it all in a historical context. I am not American, nor am I black, nor am I especially political, so I am not sure how to categorize the emotions I felt while watching. Maybe I was just struck by the rightness of it all. Starting with the red Lincoln Bible, carried in by Michelle Obama, to the pictures of Malia Obama photographing the day, to her comment to her dad after he finished his speech. For what it’s worth, here are a few of my thoughts about the day.

I watched the CBC version, which meant I heard commentary by Peter Mansbridge. Lots of discussion about the size of the crowd, the weather, the president who died a month after his inauguration, the beautiful Obama children, the thoughts Bush might be thinking…

I actually found the commentary interesting because I don’t watch much television and so I was not aware of things like the controversy around Rick Warren being asked to pray. I believe in a situation such as this, it is called an invocation rather than a prayer. I felt kind of sorry for the guy. It all seemed a little awkward, almost insincere. I don’t think Mr. Warren is an insincere guy. I mean, I’ve read Purpose-Driven Life, and that is the extent of my familiarity with him. It is just a weird situation in which to lead a prayer. It sounded more like a mini-speech, with an amen at the end. Lowrey’s prayer, although I’m sure it was prepared and rehearsed, just didn’t sound prepared and rehearsed.

Of course, Aretha, singing Our Country Tis of Thee, can’t help but give you the shivers. Although the hat she was wearing was, shall I say, a little distracting?! But what do I know about fashion. I thought they all should have been wearing warmer coats. And maybe mittens. Or at least those gloves with the fingers cut out. (I noticed the pianist was wearing those). Michelle was at least wearing a coat, but it was one of those that don’t actually button up. Brrr.

Isn’t it funny how we call them all by their first names.

The actual oath-taking was fumbled a bit. Does that matter? Or am I being legalistic?

I enjoyed Obama’s speech. It was fairly low-key, but beautifully written. I wonder how much he actually personally contributed to it? He is a wonderful public speaker. No doubt about it.

I felt a little bad for the people who had to present after the Obama speech. A little anti-climactic. I have heard quite a bit of negative talk about the poem. I should have looked up the poet’s name. I am sure she is well-known in poetic circles. I actually thought her poem was okay. Poetry is a difficult art to appreciate. I thought she did a good job of balancing style, and presented something that was accessible to most people. Not really traditional, but also not so “out there” that it couldn’t be understood.

The music was beautiful, but, again, the show was over. People were done listening. Too bad.

I thought the departure of the Bushes was sort of interesting. I wonder what they were all thinking as they went through the ceremony of walking out together, and then the hugs and handshakes as the Bushes said good-bye to the Obamas. And all the commentary talk about the “smooth transition of power”. What were they expecting? Is it really so significant? There are several countries, including our own, that manage to transition leaders smoothly. Just part of the rhetoric of the day, I suppose.

I didn’t hang in there for the parade. I heard that Barack and Michelle got out of their vehicle and went for a stroll through the crowd. And I heard that Ted Kennedy collapsed at the reception and was rushed to hospital. All events that will no doubt become Peter’s colour at the next inauguration.

See you in four years.

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