Carla and I were at mom's Dr's office during the inauguration address, but we watched it anyway; the receptionist had it up on her computer so we stood and watched it with her. It was a pretty amazing moment; she was struggling to hold back the tears. Lines of the speech were accompanied by "yes!" and hand clapping from the 3 of us. Mom was distracting like she tends to be, but even with that it was still emotional. John taped it for me so I could watch it when I got home.
What was even more amazing was to watch President Obama yesterday. He really did hit the ground running, and while obviously he can't solve all the problems his first day in office; I think he showed that he really meant what he said about getting to work. And that's what's really important; the fact that he understands and will work on the problems that we all face. I liked the cap on some of the White House salaries, and I liked the no lobbying provision on ex-staffers. But so far the high point is the closing of Guantanamo; and the end of torture. We are at the beginning of a new era where we show the rest of the world that we as a nation are not what was seen in the last 8 years. We have a collective memory now of what it means to give up too much of our identity, the essence of who we are, the relinquishing of the underpinnings of our society, into the hands of men who are governed by greed and self interest rather than the good of the country who they takes oaths to serve, and our Constitution which they took oaths to protect. We've seen first hand what happens by giving up the freedoms in our Constitution. The lessons of the last 8 years are death and destruction. It's something we need to keep in our collective memory and never let it happen again. I think that even though we have so many issues facing us, the end of the torture of other human beings is the most important. I'll admit that I would like to see those responsible for the subverting of the laws of this country and international law brought to justice. I think it's important for those images to make their way into our collective memory. I don't know if they will or not. Keith Olbermann had a great Special Commentary on it the other night:
In the meantime, it was a great picture yesterday to show a President acting openly and with confidence. His words yesterday on restoring transparency to government and on the rules imposed concerning lobbying on his own staff are like a breath of fresh air. It truly is a new day!