Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Once in a Lifetime

Three million people?

What does that look like? How can that many people come together in one place at one time? Where will they all stand? Sit? Eat? Erm...go to the bathroom, to use that most American of euphamisms?

We are going to the inauguration. These are just a few of the questions I've been asking myself.

Why, for crying out loud, would I want to be in the middle of that crowd? Well, for starters, it's no rock concert I'm talking about here. This event can accurately be described as something often ascribed to movies and television programs; a "Once in a lifetime event", but unlike mere entertainment, this event is one of some actual historical significance. The number of people at this event will be a powerful and delightfully tangible proof of the change that will finally come to our country and thus, to our belief that the political system, rife though it certainly is with difficulties and ripe though it is for fraud, as we have seen as never before, is both sound from a philosophical standpoint and self-correcting, from an emperical point of view, as we have, in fact often seen before in our history.

I find it both remarkable and inspiring to think that this country, this grand and humbly simple system, concieved by enlightened philosophers and indegefatigable pioneers and industrious rejects from Europe's stifling economic caste system and embodied in that elegant document we know as our Constitution, is so organic, so adaptable and humane that, despite the long odds, we find ourselves today in the remarkable situation of having elected a President who would have been ineligible to vote when that noble creed was written, simply because he wouldn't even have been considered to be a man at the time!

This alone is reason to hope, but there are many others. Thinking back to stories I've read about Andrew Jackson's inauguration, when the 'common people' were invited to, and subsequently ran amuck in the White House, I am tempted to believe that this will be one very wild party-- perhaps more than I really hoped for--but I also know that it will be a moment to express the relief and joy and optimism I feel with, literally, millions of others.

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