It's a big day for America. We have a new President and a seamless transfer of power.
I was fortunate enough to be in Washington today for President Obama's inauguration. I, and 2 million of my closest friends, got to be part of history. Even though the cold was toe-numbing and inhospitable, a warmth nevertheless spread through the sea of people. A shared sense of wonder seemed to pulse through the crowd.
This collective feeling of awe can't be easily dismissed as mere infatuation with a winsome, dashing politician however. Although President Obama is clearly a unique and gifted man who will hopefully lead the United States to new, great things, he is also obviously just a man. The millions of people packed into the National Mall felt more than just hero-worship; I believe they feel, as I do, that this new President represents a unique chance for the United States to reinvent itself in a number of ways.
Maybe it's all perception. Maybe Barack Obama really is just like any other politician. Maybe his Change mantra is just a vote-getting slogan. What can't be denied or dismissed, though, is that a majority of our citizens feel better about themselves and each other than they have in a long time. Perhaps that's President Obama's greatest gift to us...which, as it turns out, is what he had promised to bring all along: hope.
Obviously only time will tell what kind of President he will be. History's judgment is inescapable. In the meantime, though, I'm going to feel free to be excited about the next chapter in American history. President Obama...that sounds pretty good to me. :)
Some pics from my camera phone: