The Precedent of the United States
I would imagine that January 20th, 2009 was a very intriguing day for many Americans. I found myself in SUNY Plattsburgh’s Yokum 200 lecture hall with more than 300 people observing/participating in the inauguration as best we could. I found myself fascinated by the pomp and circumstance of the day. It was nice seeing whole families seated to witness the historic event of our nation’s first racially underrepresented leader sworn into office. It was moving watching so many people transcend stereotypical behavior and embrace President Barack Obama and his family, though sometimes at the unfortunate expense of ridiculing the outgoing administration.
It was ironic that Obama has put forth quite a bit of effort in attempting to not disparage the previous administration and yet many Obama supporters have not followed his lead. Yes, thoughts of the previous administration's decisions are painful for many to reconsider and the consequences dire as well. But it is hard to believe that the Bush administration deliberately tried to implement unjust policies upon any segment of the American populace. Is there someone out there who disagrees with this assertion? I can't help but think that many of Bush's decisions/choices were an extension of his experiences or lack thereof, including his cabinet choices. Even though #43 was the son of a president (#41) it doesn't mean that his world view was as sophisticated as varying constituents might have hoped it would be. I guess it might be necessary to define exactly what sophisticated might mean relative to various groups.
For the first time in a long time, too long to remember, I actually sang along in the national anthem, with my hand over my heart, with pride. I didn’t really sing because I couldn’t get the words out since my voice was trembling from my being overwrought with emotion. I could only look forward or run the risk of people seeing my eyes flooded with tears. Yes, while I have lived in this country knowing it is one of the best places to live in the world, what I call American hypocrisy has always affected any notion of American democracy for me. Yesterday that all changed and I found myself wanting to become a better citizen, a valued resource in the changing society in which Obama is challenging all Americans to participate.
I am curious as to what you may have also noticed, thought, or did that may have been somewhat out of the ordinary as a result of this day in American history. What is your story, observation, or commitment to change as we enter the Obama era? What are/were some of the various historical markers that were altered or established as a result of yesterday’s inauguration? While some continue to want to frame this election as not necessarily racially significant, was it for you and if so, how? If not, why not? What are some of the things that you believe may occur as a result of this election that may not have occurred if Obama had not won? Is there a precedent to this president?