Monday, January 19, 2009

Note from the hinterlands...

I've been watching all the inaugural coverage I can out here in the sticks, from Mark's pictorial updates to MSNBC to CNN to C-SPAN--i've been pretty ecumenical about this, except that i haven't tuned into fox news, which is no surprise since i NEVER tune in to fox news. Why start now?!

What all of this reminds me of is the Kennedy funeral of l963, which virtually everyone in the country gathered around the tv set to watch. That was the closest thing to national unanimity I have seen--until now. There are huge differences, of course--people are coming together in joy, rather than mourning, and we're not all watching CBS or NBC. There's no gatekeeper to coverage now, so you're free to watch with talking heads, without talking heads, with or without sound, with or without soundtrack, however you'd like. And there's something called the internet, now, if i remember correctly, so you can watch realtime or later. Lots of ways to's pretty decentralized.

But what impresses is the sense that everyone's watching, everyone's enjoying the pageant, everyone's experiencing the dawn of a new day, and in a lot of cases, reveling in the inclusion of people who used to be out there in the cold--read, Gene Robinson, the Washington Gay Men's chorus, legions of African-Americans. They've all finally been acknowledged and invited to the national banquet, so to speak. This inaugural runup has now trumped even the Kennedy funeral for that feeling of national consensus and unity, and that's saying something after 8 years of the Decider and his relentless divide-and-conquer m.o.

Three cheers for President Barack! I have a hard time finding the words to convey on this Inauguration Eve my awe, joy, elation,_____________(insert your preferred emotion here).


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