Today, Barack Obama took the oath of office. The bigness of this day is probably unprecedented in my twenty-some years. Of course, it doesn’t compare to an experience like getting married, those personal experiences that make you feel alive. But as the world goes… Well, today feels as big and significant and important to the rest of the world as my wedding day felt to me. The world feels alive today.
Before this election, I think I’ve only ever felt the world, in that personified form, when it had been in pain. I remember being in Kindergarten and shocked at the news of the Challenger explosion. And I remember being in my dorm at college and turning on the news to watch the World Trade Center tumble in slow motion. Aside from those experiences, “the world” and I have always remained little more than detached acquaintances. Certainly I’ve had my opinions about how the world should be, what’s wrong, what should improve; but I never really had any emotional investment in it.
So it’s great to experience a day that’s both historical and positive. It’s not quite so surreal as a moon landing, and I’m ill-equipped to guess if it’s bigger than JFK being elected, but my guess is yes, it probably is.
It’s made bigger by the racial significance–I still have to be reminded about that. Same as after election day… I was so excited just to know that we had elected a brilliant & impressively charismatic man to turn our country around, that I was only reminded nearly after-the-fact that he will also be our first black President. I still honestly consider that to be an afterthought–we need good leadership right now, no matter who it is–but the racial significance is huge, just the same. (I wonder if, when the first woman gets elected President, it will be as celebratory a time. Perhaps only if she, too, will be replacing a terrible lame-duck President?)
So this will probably be the election/inauguration I will always remember… Our JFK. I wonder what our “moon landing” moment will be? I don’t think a Mars landing will really have the same appeal, and although I hope for some clean-energy milestones in my lifetime, I’m not sure if there will be any awe-inspiring moments to watch. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say our big moment of technological advancement will have something to do with robotics and A.I. Could be creepy!
What an awesome day… Truly. Not simply “awesome” in the overused, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sort of way… (Although on that note, let me be the first to offer our new President: “Cowabunga!”) Awesome in the true sense of the word: inspiring awe, admiration, or wonder.
Or D: All of the above.