So, I had class until 11:30 this morning, then rushed to my car, determined to get home in time to see Obama sworn in. I started panicking at 11:45, but was able to turn on the radio to hear some excellent NPR commentary on people wearing SO MANY RED AND BLUE HATS! Gee, thanks.
Luckily, I made it in time to see some Aretha Franklin, Biden, YoYo Ma, (though not necessarily in that order- my memory is failing me) and then, of course, the Man of the Hour. All with my big kitty, Gatsby, curled up, purring, on my lap. Perfect.
So here is the preeminent analysis that you have been waiting for all day:
1. Oh. My. God. The oath! THE OATH!!! I freaked out when Obamarama was seemingly flustered/confused/something and messed up the first line. ABC News later explained that it was CJ Roberts, Jr. who mixed up the order of the words. Gasp! Scandal! I truly hope that wasn't some sort of intentional political move.
2. Those oaths are hard! Biden did an excellent job, as the VP's oath almost seemed a bit more long-winded than the President's. Literally, it was like, "I, Joseph R. Biden, do solemnly swear that I will brush my teeth every morning and night, visit Amsterdam, and buy everyone in the country a cute little pony." Okay, the words may vary but MY GOD he had to repeat back long phrases!
3. It may be wise, and obvious, to insert here that this is the first inauguration that I remember watching, ever.
4. Michelle Obama's dress:
I am at a 75% likeable level right now. At first I was appalled by the yellow, but it has certainly grown on me and I appreciate the bold choice. Plus, Biden's wife had stolen the classic red option. I was also going to gripe once more about her dress on election night in Grant Park, but looking back it doesn't seem so bad and, dare I say, I think I now like it:
5. R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin rocked, she really did.
6. Obama's speech was, in a word, perfect. As one commentator pointed out so astutely, it really didn't contain simple, catchy soundbites. It had substance, and I think it had great direction and tone. Really enjoyed.
7. Awkwardness. Did anyone else feel weird hearing Obama say things like "We have to pick up and start over", etc. with Bush right behind him? What was going through Bush's head?
8. Tradition. This was certainly a day for tradition. I believe the inauguration purposely echoed many aspects of Lincoln's life, including the Bible that was used for the swearing in to the dishes served for lunch. In these times, I needed, and greatly enjoyed, such stability.
9. Out with the old, in with the new. As someone who voted for both Bush and Obama, I am fortunate to have my executive choices in the White House for at least a solid 12 years. As Obama and Bush walked down the capitol steps to the awaiting helicopter, I had tears in my eyes. I remembered my first presidential vote for Bush, and how much I believed in him. And still, to an extent, do. His presidency had some incredible ups, but probably a lot more downs. I had just hoped for so much more, things could have been so different. But now I have Obama. I was tickled to here that, in keeping with tradition, there will be a personal note from Bush waiting for Obama in the Oval Office. Very cool. And no matter what you think of Bush, I have heard a lot of good things about the civility and stability of this transfer of power, and for that, I am so thankful.
10. Never knew that new presidents had to sign executive orders so quickly to keep them going from the previous administration, but it makes sense. Maybe it's just the law student in me, but it did make me nervous that Obama wasn't reading what he signed. ;)
11. The puppy. When will it arrive?!!!
I am so excited and content. Best wishes, America; I am so proud of you.