Monday, January 21, 2013

Watching the Inauguration

I wonder if the President could sleep at all last night. What do you eat for breakfast on inauguration day? It’s a long time before the official luncheon. They don’t even let him go right to lunch, he has to do work first, signing proclamations and making nominations.

As I watch the inauguration coverage, I always wonder if others are feeling the same way that I am.

I couldn’t help the tears welling up in my eyes as I watched the President’s family take the inaugural stage. On a day like today you can’t help but feel swelling pride at being an American. When you hear the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing the Battle Hymn of the Republican, if that doesn’t touch your emotions, then you may need a little thawing …

As a crowd of hundreds of thousands waved flags and chanted OBAMA, OBAMA you couldn’t feel the excitement and dare I say the hope. I enjoy the ritual and ceremony, these things that make us feel united and make you feel the commonality of being an American.

As the President was walking in, he looked almost sad. Must be a bittersweet time. Sitting on the inaugural stage, the President looks thoughtful, contemplative, satisfied, meditative, prayerful … at peace? Joe Biden looked like he might cry.

Love that Myrlie Evers led the invocation. She did a great job with her speech, as did Chuck Schumer. I didn’t catch in the coverage how Dr King’s family was represented, and if any of the activities involved the MLK memorial? I should look that up.

A big shout out to all the production folks and crews who provided all the inauguration coverage, from the camera operators to the sound people to the people who labored to build the stages and more – when they do their jobs well, you don’t notice them, and they are usually out there for days at a time, in cold and dark, to bring you flawless live coverage of one of the biggest moments in our country’s history. Job well done.

And a shout out to the speechwriters, who help our leaders craft the poetic prose that inspires.

I appreciate the relatively recent addition of the inaugural poem (JFK). ‘Hope, a new constellation, waiting for us to map it.’

So is the nice-looking gay Hispanic poet single?

On an aesthetic note, the First Lady and the First Daughters looked fantastic. Those must be faux lashes on FLOTUS, she wears them well. Love the purple. Dr. Jill Biden is glowing in a beautiful blue satin coat with a large bow.

Some people I don’t recognize appear to be wearing fur, which seems like it could be controversial, tho it is pretty darn cold out and maybe it’s faux fur.

Beyonce’s emerald earrings and ring were worth the telecast alone, and she sounded DIVINE. She should always be accompanied by the Marine Corps band. Kelly Clarkson, while I may not be digging your new blonde ‘do and betrayal of your brunette roots, you brought it gurl. Job well done. And James Taylor sounded good too – not often you get to see those performers sharing a stage.

Sasha O could not sit still during the ceremony, gotta love it. I bet Grandma wanted to give her a little pinch. I’m waiting for the transcripts from the lip readers who will tell us what everyone was saying to each other up on stage.

Jay Z had to rescue wife Beyonce from some lady who looked like Margaret Thatcher who looked like she wanted to chat her up. Wonder how it feels for him that more people must know who she is than him .. .he kind of looked like her Secret Service agent.

Still a bit surreal to see Al Franken up on the inaugural stage, to me he will always kind of be the guy on SNL with the satellite on is head. And is Al Sharpton shrinking even more?

It is of course MLK Jr. day as well as inauguration day, and the themes of Dr King weighed in the air on a day of celebration, sometimes solemnly so. But I thought prez might address MLK more overtly. Too easy?

This year is the 50th anniversary of MLK’s historic ‘I Have a Dream Speech.’ If you ever find yourself in Memphis please visit the National Civil Rights museum, which is built on the remains of what was the Lorraine motel, where Dr. King was infamously assassinated.  It is an incredibly moving and important legacy to race in America, to how far we have come (and what we should never forget) and how far we can still go.

But I think my favorite moment of the inauguration ceremony was the President taking a few moments before leaving the inaugural stage to gaze at the crowd, it looked like he was soaking it all in, trying to burn it into his memory. It will stay in mine.  

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