The Final Day
Resident sucker for oral histories yours truly recommends the one on Daily Beast about the inauguration changeover.
I nearly can't believe it's finally come: the last day of the Bush presidency. I watched his farewell remarks the other night; when he got to the part about how civilians slowly went back to their lives after September 11, but he never did, I could feel the bile rising. I didn't believe him, because he delivered the line with that trademark vile egg-farty smirk, and even if I had believed him…but then I remembered that it doesn't matter anymore. He's done. It's over at last. Whatever that guy tells himself about his own righteousness is no longer something I have to care about, and thank God.
Obama is going to screw up, and lie about it, and do all the other frustrating and human things all the guys before him did, but praise God he's going to do it while using correct English, and here's the other thing: as thrilled as I am to see this moment in American history, as hopeful as I am that the Obaministration can make meaningful change, as much as I look forward to seeing his portrait up on the wall at the P.O. for the first time, I think Obama's real gift to the nation is having restored our faith in ourselves to get things done. "Yes We Can" is a clever rhetorical tool, but it became something bigger; it became true. It's what made the post-election atmosphere in Brooklyn so friendly and fun, at least partly — because everyone felt bonded by it, had a sense of ownership in it.
I hope we can remember that feeling as we go forward, because Obama isn't going to get inaugurated and then create a bunch of jobs the next day, or pull the trapdoor on Iraq. But the great thing he brought us is the reminder that he doesn't have to do everything. We the people have reserves of extraordinary that we can and should spend freely.
If you have a dream, in other words…let's hear it. Let's do it. Why not?
All y'all in Washington, stay warm and share cabs. Everyone else: we made it. Party on this thread tomorrow.