What exactly is the word I'm looking for right now? Is "lordy" the word I seek? You know, as in, "...lordy, lordy, lordy...." It's something my grandmother might have said but it seems apropos for many reasons. Or, am I looking for something less a word and more of a...more of an exhalation? I will close my eyes, take a huge lungful of gentle, warm, moist air in through my nose and slowly, slowly, so very slowly exhale through puckered lips.

I just did this exact "breathing technique." Several times now.

There. What the hell?

It's all so different now, ain't it? But I'm sitting at the same kitchen table, using the same laptop, I see the same trees outside. Martha's house. Miriam is parked across the street; nothing different about any of that. This coffee tastes familiar. I am writing about stuff and trying to read about a dozen things at the same time (highlighted by the FoOl's Chinese Laundry posting). Everything seems to be the same as it was on Friday, January 16, 2009.

But today is Wednesday, January 21, 2009. Shit if "it" isn't all so very different...all of a sudden. Today. Just right now.

After 8 years of the W Bush administration, after a speech at a political convention in 2004, after John "Reporting for Duty" Kerry, after an 18-month presidential campaign, after "Heck of a job, Brownie," after The Great Depression of 2008 where the economy is fundamentally sound, after Sarah Palin , after Ashley Todd, after The Great Election of 2008, and after the inauguration where we actually peacefully passed the baton of World's Most Important Person from the son of an oil tycoon, senator, ambassador, CIA chief, vice president, and president to some black dude who is still accused of being a Muslim and a we are. All of a sudden everything is radically different. Feel it? You feelin' it? I am.

It is not like today I have to provide links to articles that say the same damn thing because everybody is saying the same damn thing (except for the rube-mopetards who are arguing that Barack isn't the legitimate president because he and John Roberts got into some "rabbit season is open" routine). Some things are just that universal and that self-evident. Only the deepest levels of rube-mopetardism do not get it today.
Rich wrote:

My three favorite moments:

1) Having my belief system elevated from "and others" to "non-believer." I'm finally accepted in America. The white, male, Ivy League graduate finally feels accepted in America.

2) "We will restore science to its rightful place." Oh snap! George, are you still here?

3) Rev. Lowery to Rev. Warren: Let me show you how it's done, you fat, fucking mope-teed blowhard.

With regard to Rich's Item 1, President Obama said the following:

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."

Non-believers? Jesus Christ! I do believe this is the first time that I have heard someone, anyone, in the official U.S. Government executive branch acknowledge in a sensible way the category that has and always will describe me: Non-believer. I suppose that if it's suddenly OK to have a black president, it must suddenly be OK to not believe in dragons, unicorns, Santa, and religions. For me and all of my friends that is one of the greatest American gifts of all time. It will soon be OK to be gay in America. Watch.

And, as a highly relevant and highly correlated segue, there is Rich's Item 2. As my friend Chris said through the character Roast Beef, "What we need more science." No shit do we need more science. More is the new less. Here's what President Obama said:

"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do."

He didn't say we will wield the science to wage war on the [brown] terrorists or make bitchin' robots to do the work for our fat lazy asses and to replace poor [brown] people. The president said to use the science to help save people from a micro level (health care) to a macro level (energy/environment/education). He didn't say new sciences to jail [brown] people and eliminate the fear of [brown] immigration. He said to fix people and fix the world. Science? Represent!

And, logical segues all around today, with regard to Rich's Item 3, that's the Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery. While most people will remember the Rev. Dr. for his invocation of black, brown, yellow, red, and white, I offer the following to the department of historical engraving:

"And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will."

As for "pastor Rick".... Rich said enough. For all of us.
From chat with Lily:

me: we have a black president though Lily: hell yeah!me: even better...we have...a really smart person at the helmLily: i'm so glad that smart is in!
me: smart is the new black
black is the new black
smart black is the new black
Smart black is the new black. Did you see Jay-Z's glasses? Exactly. But it is where we've landed. Michelle and Barack are captain and co-captain.
So how did I feel? Yesterday? I was oddly glued to the festivities, focused. I was unexpectedly bursting into tears. Not like I surprisingly noticed a single tear trickling down my cheek like that litter Indian. No, I would burst into full, heaving sob, out of nowhere; throat so clenched I could hardly swallow. Kissing my daughter on the head.

Once it was over the relief was palpable. Friends were sending the emailings, the texts, and actually using the telephone to reconnect once again; to pinch themselves and others to see "if it is real." We held our collective breath when the president walked the parade route. And we are slowly beginning to realize that this thing actually happened. I felt proud. I felt that "us people" -- the smart people -- have decided to do something. I felt that we have incrementally evolved as a species. That's how I felt. And this is how I still feel.

Lordy, lordy, lordy....

  • Christine posted some photographs from Berkeley. I feel the third photo of this post (and related text) [clicky] probably describes how I felt.
  • HNIC/VNIC images by Big Dave Wave.