Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a difference 8 years makes

This morning Tom and I woke up at 6:15 with plans to see the inauguration ceremony at the Parkway Theater in Oakland. We got dressed, brushed our teeth and headed out the door at 6:45 knowing that the doors opened at 7:00 am. Well, by the time we got there (on time) there was a line stretching around the block - and even though we lost the desire to fight for a seat in that big crowd, it was amazingly gratifying to see so many excited humans coming together to celebrate the beginning of a new era. We called our friends BZ and Margaret and headed up to their house to watch the celebration in their living room.

I didn't watch the inauguration of George Bush 4 years ago, but 8 years ago I caught a little bit of it. This morning I was recalling that bleak day on which I gave birth to my song, If You Tell a Lie. My enduring memory of Bush's first inauguration was his closed limo riding down Pennsylvania Avenue surrounded by security vehicles on a bleak and rainy day. I'm sure there was more to it than that, but that's what stays, and the horrible feeling that our democracy had just been hijacked by a bunch of liars.

Today, as we sat together with our friends and their two small children, we felt pride, joy, hope and trepidation, (will this man be able to fulfill the promise of a different future)? And we felt connected to the country in a way that I'm not sure I've ever felt before. Incredible to know that over 80% of the people believe that the right man is leading us, that we may actually be entering an age that is not defined but fear, greed and callousness.

I heard that a few people booed as the soon to be ex-president Bush made his last presidential entrance, and one of the CNN commentators remarked that it was in bad taste. I must say I'm probably a little more in the camp of the shoe throwers - I mean, what's a little bad taste compared to the millions of lives that have been destroyed because of the actions of Bush and Company?

Now I'm watching TV again, back at home - Barack and Michelle were just walking down the avenue - crowds of people waving and cheering and I'm smiling. What a difference 8 years makes.