Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Of the people, by the people, for the people

(This is a Wordle I made from the inaugural speech on

My inaugural experience was rather more solitary than my election day. I got home from work around 10:30 p.m., three and a half hours before the swearing-in. I had my night all planned: sign on to and click on their Facebook app, where I could watch all the festivities in one window while chatting with my friends (in a second window) and reading what the world at large had to say (in a third). Piece of pie. Easy as cake.

But... the dreaded words came up on my screen: "We're sorry; video is not available in your area." (It was on election night.) Ack! So much for sharing the experience. Okay, then... I'll go to, which has an :: ahem :: unauthorized feed of CNN. That'll do. Only it's not working. no live feed. This doesn't look good.

By 11:30 (T minus 2.5 hours) I'm all cursed out and try again... they're online live! There's Keith and Rachel and Chris and the whole gang! Yay, Keith! Yay, Rachel! STFU, Chris! He's bloviating over every arrival onscreen, mostly about people's HATS, for some reason, and embarrassing everybody by trumpeting how MSNBC is the network of the 21st century. Still, I'm all set.

...and the time is going by quite agreeably, the feed's working fine, I've got a pot of coffee and a lap of cat, the VIPs are on the platform and oh-my-God-look-at-all-the-people and it's T minus 10 minutes and I'm all excited and MSNBC freezes up as solid as the Arctic used to. (Personally, I blame Bush for the freeze and the melt.)

In desperation, I flip on the tv and three channels are carrying it live! Nice clear visuals, too. Channel 10 has a guy babbling over the original feed, very loudly, in Korean. Channel 8, ditto. Channel 6, a woman, babbling not quite so loudly; I can actually, if I concentrate, hear what's being said on the platform. Very annoying, but the best I can do. I only wish I could really focus on the oath and the inaugural speech.

Fifteen minutes into the speech, my computer dings. It's Micah, across town, Skype-texting me: he can't get on and what can he do? It pops into my head:! So I tell him, it works, I go DUUUUUUUH and turn off the tv and go to and hear the last five minutes of the speech. What a doof.

But at least I didn't lead the new president (President Obama!) into messing up the oath of office.

And, although that last line makes a nice, sardonic ending to a post, I have to say that I was very moved, not so much by the ceremony as by the endless stream of hopeful, happy Americans. I got something in my eye a couple of times.

I know this is a cliche by now, but here it is: I'm proud to be an American. It's been awhile.

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