Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The work of remaking America.(New year, new president)

I left work a little early today to watch the inauguration of President Obama. I am not a fan of American politics and I am sure in the future the swearing in of the first African American president and all the fuss it engendered will seem quite quaint and racist in itself, in the same way that now no one comments on the fact that their bus driver is woman even though 10 years ago that would have been remarkable. Anyway, I can remember stories of segregation, discrimination and violence in the Southern States as I was growing up, I can remember the shooting of Martin Luther King and I can remember listening to Aretha Franklin so the ceremony today had some poignancy even for me.

It certainly moved millions of Americans to stand for hours in temperatures well below freezing to witness it. Mind you, at least they could wear coats, hats and jackets! The presidential party, in their smart suits and thin looking coats must have been freezing! I hope they were wearing decent thermal underwear! Obama's daughter was taking photos of her dad taking his oath which maybe one day will appear on her own blog or in her memoirs, or just serve as a personal memento of the day. Obama's speech was as we all expected as he is a good orator. It was timely and well written (apparently the writer is only 27 years old, which pleases me to think that there is such talent in the young). My hope is that he does go on to be a different and new kind of president not because he is black but because he does the right things. In the end I hope that we all find the fact that he is black unremarkable.

One thing that I did wake up to today was just how carefully timed Israel's attack on Palestine was. It was begun over Christmas in the midst of a handover of power and declared over the day before Obama's inauguration. I can't begin to understand the Middle East Situation but whatever your views and beliefs, as people are allowed in now to view the aftermath it seems to be becoming clear that there were some dreadful atrocities. Whether all of these turn out to have been deliberate or so called 'mistakes of war' we will probably never know.

1 comment:

Michael House said...

I had an X-ray yesterday for possible OA in my hip, and we rushed back to see the inauguration. I was particularly worried about Michelle being cold, as you say, hope she had thick vests on! It was all very moving.