Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Very Essence of Our Democracy

I have an answer I never imagined for the question, "Where were you when Obama was inaugurated?"

The answer: in a classroom in my high school, helping plan post-high-school for our nephew, working with some incredibly dedicated professionals from all over the county.

When the meeting ended, I dashed to the auditorium, where the district's 8th graders were gathered to watch history, and standing behind my band director, who is now my nephews' band director, listened to our 44th president's first speech.

I honestly don't remember where I was for either of 43's inaugurations. (Repression?) For Clinton's first, I was in the common room at my office, with a bunch of baby boomers who were in awe that their generation was in power now. For GHW Bush's, I was there on the lawn.

And for Reagan's, I was in the math classroom of my junior high, watching TV, and exploding with joy and running through the halls with my best friends, screaming, "The hostages are free! The hostages are free!" as they crossed out of Iranian airspace as Reagan made the oath.

One of the things that sticks with me from the election was the story on NPR about the meeting that next morning in Iraq between the American military and the transition team. The Americans walked in and saw glum faces at the table, and found themselves accepting condolences. The Iraqis said they knew that Bush would never willingly hand over the presidency to a person named Barack Hussein Obama. And the original agenda was scuttled as the military explained that in fact, he would. And it would not be a problem, and they would not be called back to quash an uprising while a new election was called for.

This is the very essence of our democracy. Even when it's a president I'm not thrilled with, I love that about our nation. What a blessing we live every four years when the only drama is scripted. There are huge issues facing our country. I know there are millions here fretting that he might not be up to the challenge. I can't imagine why he'd want them. But I'm glad he does.

1 comment:

Anjali said...

It is something else, isn't it?