Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Noon in America

Can you take another Inauguration post?

It seems like overload, I know, but if you consider a weblog (how - cute, she said "weblog." Please send me a "facsimile" copy of your weblog. by "Federal Express") if.. you consider a weblog a journal of sorts, then it would seem strange not to have an Inaugural Post. Years later when some graduate student writes her dissertation on the great loss to letters my lack of ambition caused, she should not have to devote a chapter to why there was no 44th Inauguration post.

I haven't watched an inauguration in a long time. Perhaps the reasons are obvious.

I am a sucker for this type of ceremony, with "distinguished guests," and speeches and prayers, doves or flyovers or whatever you got. Inauguration, Olympics, Pops on the Hatch Shell. It's all the same to me. Lord knows I cry on Oscar Night, so it wouldn't have taken much to move me in today's ceremony.

1984 -- Morning in America. We took the excess material off our collars, put it on our shoulders, and called it macaroni. We chanted U-S-A, which I promise you we did not do before the 1980 Olympics. We said we were better off than we were 4 years before, because Holy Cow, the interest rate is down to 11%!! We bought radios as big as TVs and strutted hard.

Morning, indeed. The kind of Saturday morning you have on vacation where you order the Rootie-Tootie Fresh 'n' Fruity, smoke on the beach, and fall asleep in a deck chair until you get a tanline around your socks.

Bush-41 was a 9am Monday staff meeting with cold danish, where you got sniped at for 4 years over some damn MBO you didn't even know was on the list.

Maybe it's where I fall in the generations -- not a Boomer, not an X -- but I feel like I've been trying to find myself for the past 16 years. Maybe the country was reflecting on me, or I on it. Who are we, what are we doing? Does anyone have a plan? Are we just making this up? And as anyone who has worked side-by-side with me will tell you, I am not capable of trying any harder than the people in charge.

But here is a man who wants us to be a better America -- who expects that we will when we bring out the best that we have. His is not a Vince Lombardi speech, but then we are not playing football. The goal, coach, is not in fact "to beat the other guy."

It is to beat the guy we let ourselves become: cynical and stale. It is, as he said, to keep our legacy. It was a commanding pep talk that makes me want to be worthy of the man who gave it.

It is no longer morning, America. It is High Noon. And we are burnin' daylight. There is a lot to do before the whistle blows, and it is hot out there. But at the end of this long afternoon is a job we can be proud of.

Today was not flawless. The stumbling oath seemed a bad omen. Not everyone with tickets got onto the grounds. The stock market, and Ted Kennedy, actually fell. Ban Ki-Moon called Gaza "a collective political failure." But this political cynic was inspired. Put me in coach. I'm ready to play.


  1. Rite awn, Miz Bender. Future grad stoonts take note: This Was A Day.

  2. Beautifully written. Made me tear up. Proud to be in the game with you, my friend.


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