I feel like I've drawn my first deep breath in over eight years, now that the Hopester is the new prez. I cried and whooped at all the right places -- not the least of which was the news that my cousin and other select members of his staff have gotten permission to get into their new West Wing digs early to get a head start on wiping out some of the final-hours damage the Shrubbites have inflicted on reproductive choice and the environment and such (expect these can't-wait-to-get-at-it, haven't-seen-dedicated-hard-work-like-this-since-the-Clinton-days crowd to overwhelm a printer or more cranking out the executive orders in the next week or few) -- then regained some semblance of cynical composure.
There are many things about yesterday I'll not soon forget, among them:
"Obama! Obama! Obama!" at the Capitol and along the parade route, as well as the screams and thousands of cameras raised high on the route, especially during his brief walk that gave pundits and Secret Service alike palpitations (and sighs of relief when the brave walk ended); the look on many faces -- particularly Obama's African step-mom, Jesse Jackson, and Rep. John Lewis -- as the oath was taken, reminding me of why I voted for Obama despite policy and style reservations aplenty; and the sea of humanity who had traveled -- some from far lands -- to experience the turning of the wheel of history.
It's not only that he's the Great-Black-Hopey-Fulfiller-of-Long-Denied-Dreams, either, though that's more huge than possible for any one of us to comprehend no matter what one's race or racial history, it's a sense of generational change -- a turning of the wheel of time, as well as a sense of change in the foundations of possibility, the wheel of which is in another dimension altogether.
Even not having words to describe the only-she-could-pull-it-off color of Michelle Obama's attire (don't get me started on how adorable Malia and Sasha looked) didn't dampen my evil glee at watching Dick Cheney look all Dr. Strangelove-Mr. Potter-The Penguin grumpy in his wheelchair as he got stuck behind the rest of the dignitaries after being done in by a moving box (a very fine moving box, that one -- and the best TV shot of the decade may well be of the white moving vans moving said boxes from/into the White House).
But, hey, The Prince of Darkness actually showed, whereas Alito, alone among living Supremes present and past, thumbed his nose at the affair, reportedly still miffed that Hopey didn't vote to confirm him. (He blew off the official meeting with then-to-be-Prez Hopey and to-be-Veep Gabby Joe, too, the raised-by-wolves putz!) Ginsberg, however, looked as gleeful as a fairy gnome. (I emotionally prepped for the inaugural by reading her minority opinion in Carhart, which highlights another of the compelling reasons I'm grateful for yesterday.)
The weirdest thing so far is that I'm now not sure what number of prez that Hopey is as Diane's plan went a little long there and, for a few minutes from noon to noon-o-five, a strange situation where Shrub was no longer even pretending to be prez, Hopey wasn't sworn in yet, and Biden had taken his oath (thus preventing Cheney from making another improbable, "Constitution? What's that?" claim to endless, boundless power), made Biden prez for the mini-duration of the musical announcement by John Williams, Itzhak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma and cohorts that the long nightmare of near-beer-and-chokin'-pretzel anti-culture-culture wars was fading into mere PTSD fodder with every note of Copeland quote.
And, as for Rick Warren's performance. it was the dud of the day. Even the living corpse, Harry Reid's, toast at lunch was more scintillating and meaningful. Faux-impassioned, porpoise-driven, bloom-long-off-that-predictably-platitudinous-stump-speach buzzkill. At one point I thought, "If you make one more utterly undeserved ego-applause-pause, I'm gonna use some of my extra-super-magical Obama pixie dust to teleport to D.C. to yank you off that damned stage myself!"...or, as condensed from Wonkette comments, "Oh look, its gay-hatin' Rick to say a few words to Obama's magical space god...He's wanting that god to forgive people for not respecting others. He better f*ing hope so."
It's het-snark-central official: We made our point and he struck himself out. Score us the big winner of that round.
I have no doubt that this is not going to be an easy presidency for us -- that we will have to fight for everything we get and will likely suffer plenty of heartache and insult, so I'm hoping our organizations make lots of moolah off the balls and inaugu-swag. But, for yesterday, my countdown clock gone the way of the helicopters and jets that have carried off at least the figureheads from their hidey-holes and some of their support-staff trash in the rotor-drafts and jet-wash along with them if we're lucky, I'm simply pleased.