Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pre-Inaugural Butterflies

You didn't ask me, but when I was in high school I used to get this funny feeling in my gut before a sporting event. We called it the butterflies. You got anxious and jittery. The type of behavior called "ants in your pants" by my grandmother. It always went away as soon as the game started.

Well many decades later I have the same feeling in my gut this morning. Only it's not about a sporting event. It's about the most important public event I can ever recall in my lifetime.

I've got the butterflies because I can't wait for the Inauguration of Barack Obama to start!

And I think I'm feeling this way because, in that same gut of mine, I never really believed that this country would elect a black man president.

I still have to pinch myself sometimes.

I have friends and colleagues making the pilgrimage to D.C. today and tomorrow and most of them will be standing among the faithful in the National Mall watching events unfold on
JumboTrons. I did a similar thing several years ago for a major pro-choice march . It's a heady experience sharing a significant event with a million new friends. The energy of the crowd envelopes you. It's thrilling.

But this Mall experience will be very different. It will be unlike anything ever held there. People from all 50 states and all over the world will witness an incredible moment in history - the swearing in of the first African American president of the U.S.


Really unbelievable when you think that the National Mall, in the DC of the 1840's, held a slave market.

Really unbelievable when you think that the White House was built with slave labor.

Really unbelievable when you think that twelve
American presidents owned slaves and eight of them, starting with Washington, owned slaves while in office.

Now, the Obamas are moving into the White House.

"Though Michelle Obama's ancestors had to come through the ordeal of slavery, her children are sleeping in the room of presidents," said presidential historian Doug Brinkley.
"It's a very great and hopeful sign."

I can't wait for this new game to start ;-)