Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Watching History

John woke up sick yesterday and he stayed home from school. He slept most of the morning, but at 10 a.m. I woke him up and brought him downstairs so he could watch the inauguration. He has always been interested in politics and participates in his own way in political discussions Matt and I have. He malingered on the couch and provided a running commentary to what he saw.

When I pointed out the probably energy secretary, he said, "Oh, I think we need about FIVE of those." He also recommended that Hillary Clinton keep a lot of Secret Service around her, as the role of secretary of state might make her a target. He was a little unclear who Aretha Franklin was until I reminded him of "Think" in "The Blues Brothers," and then he was excited to watch her sing out from under that fabulous hat.

I kind of sat out this election. Matt's new union is politically active in a different way than his old one, and our county is so blue and loves to vote so much there's little point in doorknocking or organizing GOTV. The idealistic liberal in me liked Obama's campaign and marketing and so on; the human-rights union pinko commie in me had trouble looking past Obama's opposition to gay marriage talk of school vouchers and other "centrist" things. But the 12-year-old in me is a sucker for pomp and circumstance, and I got kind of swept up watching the inauguration and history being made.

I was OK until the piece arranged by John Williams. I thought it was marvelous. And as I was watching these gifted musicians play in the cold, beaming and obviously having the time of their lives, I got a little teary.

"Oh, are you OK, Mom?" John asked.

"Yup, just happy," I said, wiping my eyes.

John watched the musicians, and when he saw Yo Yo Ma smiling, he said, "Ohh, look how much fun he's having!" and to me that was the beginning of the next four years.

When Maia came home, she said she got to see some of the inauguration at school: "I saw Obama coming down da stairs and then I saw a helicopter going around and around the city!"

"That was George Bush leaving!" I told her. She laughed.


  1. I couldn't help thinking of the infamous James Watt quote when I saw the quartet of musicians. Yo-Yo Ma was a bonus, and Itzhak Perlman a two-fer. I think it's a lovely rebuke to the Watts of this world, that these sorts of groupings will be much more unremarkable in Obama's administration.

  2. I didn't know Aretha was scheduled, and you should have HEARD me when she was introduced. "Whooooo! It's Aretha, baby!"

  3. I should email you a scan of the kindergarten artwork on my fridge right now: A drawing of Obama, and scrawled beneat it:
    "44 the presdnent Barack Obama lvs me"