Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What’s Inauguration Day Like Everywhere Else in the World?

Just a quick one on this… yesterday was the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, a very historic occasion due to a wide variety of circumstances. I watched on CNN en Español and even heard about one or two gathering where ex-pats could watch with their own. I decided not to go, fighting a cold brought to me from the states by a friend.

It was just another day here; I went to my Spanish class where those who weren’t American didn’t even realize what was happening. Even an American in my class was like, “I’m going to the gym” when I asked him if he would be enjoying the festivities. On the other hand, I learned from Facebook that my American friends everywhere (including overseas) were all watching and telling us about it. This of course, could be because so may of my friends on FB are people I met through working in Washington.

Their sentiments were pretty similar. Everyone had chills, everyone was thrilled, everyone was beyond words, crying, etc. Me, I was amazed to see America from the outside, to see how much we needed yesterday. That’s when I realized that yesterday was for us, the pomp and circumstance, the patriotism and nationalism in our language and custom. It was a moment where we could almost believe that our hope was more than just an illusion. Our hope was alive and real on a 20 something degree day in modern Rome, the sun coming out just moments before President Obama took his oath, warming us all for a moment, even those of us sitting 5000 miles away on a 80 degree day.

As happy as I was to see yesterday, I remain cautiously skeptical about the time ahead for America. Things will be tough, probably tougher than many of us have ever known. I know we are strong, but I only hope we have the patience and wisdom as a nation to understand that getting out of this won’t be easy. Or that the man we elected is as mortal as you and me and will get up every day and do all he can do as a mortal– try.

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