Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Union

While I live just outside Washington DC, I did not venture across the Potomac for any of the Inaugural festivities.  Not for lack of interest - I think it was a great and important day for a number of reasons.  But you tell me there's going to be a crowd of 2 million people, my only question is which direction leads away from them.  Far too much hassle, as I'm sure everyone has heard from the news, and not enough return on the effort.  Most people on the Mall watched the ceremony on a screen, so why shouldn't I as well, in my office on my lunch break?  Plus I don't lose the day, which I desperately need in order to get projects delivered on time.

However, watching and reading about all that has happened today, a peculiar sense of familiarity came to me.  It was actually described best by a kindegartener to an old friend of mine: "It's like the country is having a wedding to get married to Obama."  This rang particularly true while I briefly tuned in to one of the Inaugural Balls, and the President had a first dance with the First Lady while the old Etta James standard "At Last" was sung.  You could write a paper unpacking all the symbolism there between history and race and politics.  But on the surface, it was a first dance, with a man in a tuxedo and his wife in a formal gown.  And they are the only ones dancing, and everyone is watching.  It was very much like a wedding.

The thing of it is, there is a long history of Heads of State "marrying" their nations, though usually in the case of royalty.  I'm especially reminded of the Doge of Venice, who each year would renew the marriage of the Venetian Empire and the Sea by tossing a ring into the Adriatic.  The parallel is not perfect, but it illustrates the essential idea of a union between leader and state, with accompanying pomp and pageantry.

Like many other in the country, I'm excited about this administration.  I look forward to governance based on facts and reason, if nothing else.  I'm glad America has found a nice boy to settle down with.

1 comment:

TheMarryingMan said...

Ha ha! Your last line reminds me of a feature in the The Onion book, "Our Dumb Century." I think that's the one with the replica newspaper front pages through the years...several of the older ones had little editorial cartoons depicting Lady Liberty being harrassed/assaulted by whatever was threatening America at the time: the Japanese, hippies, Spaniards, communists, etc.

THE MIND IS NOT A VESSEL TO BE FILLED BUT A FIRE TO BE KINDLED