Ever since Barrack Obama's election, I notice I've been very self critical. I feel my flaws more than I did. For the first time ever, I'm older than the president. That's okay. I knew that would happen.
I feel so under-accomplished and insecure.
I didn't even go door to door campaigning in my (rural and still largely segregated) Virginia neighborhood. I was afraid to hang up the Obama sign at the mailbox that I hand painted, lest someone desecrate it and break my heart. My friend put out a yard sign, only to have it replaced by a McCain sign. She put out another one, with a note. I feel so pathetically chickenshit.
Of course I voted. I cried with Jesse Jackson on TV. I wondered what Gandhi would think.
But I didn’t go to chiropractic school. I never developed the discipline to write. I wish I could be a member of a church, but I don’t believe in the Bible, as interpreted, being the exact word of God. There’s some pretty mean stuff in there. Doesn’t sound like God to me. Still, the belonging, the community it brings.
George Bush never put me through anything like this. All those threats to move to Canada, that was nothing. In my heart I was strong, courageous even. Certainly I was righteous. No, I said, this is MY country too and I’m not letting this (or that) asshole chase me away.
I admit that I have comforted myself by knowing that no matter how sorely I screw up, I’ll never do as much harm in this world as the Bushes. Dick Cheney. I always knew I was smarter than George2. He was a good gloat.
But it put me on the other side of some fence. I’ve felt like an outsider. I feel like the fence is coming down, and it makes me feel uneasy. I feel challenged. My internal culture of opposition/defiance that has served me well doesn’t seem to fit so comfortably. C’mon, I’m 50. I was thinking of becoming incredibly complacent about now.
It’s going to take some getting used to. Maybe I’ll trust Obama one day. I know I love him for making me believe that change is possible. That the American ideals that I always thought were in the declaration of independence as well as the constitution of the united states could still be fought for and furthered. In my lifetime. OMG What do I do?
Right now, I’m gonna celebrate. To high heaven!!! Shed my skin a little, I guess. Roll up my sleeves and take my vitamins.
I wish I were going to the Lincoln Memorial concert. DC is about a 5 hour drive from here. There‘s a 40% chance of snow on Sunday. Not a good day to be driving on slippy roads anywhere near DC.. Yet another example of my middle-aged chicken-shitted-ness, but no, I wouldn’t risk foul weather. Chickenshit Chickenshit Chickenshit !
I never had this problem with the Bushes.
Okay, so I went. Saturday night I washed my coat and headed out about 3:30 Sunday morning. I slept in my back seat for a couple hours north of Charlottesville. I figured I’d park at a metro station. I drove til Fairfax, thanks to Jay’s GPS, found the station, where there was still plenty of parking. There were folks helping out-of-towners like myself, navigate the ticket machines. I got my special Inaugural Metro ticket with a picture of President Obama. I joined the streams of people heading to the Lincoln Memorial. Before long I was joined by another middle aged white woman in from Texas, a Montessori teacher. We bought Obama action figures together and generally cavorted. She wanted to sit down though, and I wanted to slither through the crowd, so we parted after awhile. I stopped at various points in the crowd, sharing a bit of connection with these other humans. A lot of folks complaining about the crowding, everyone smiling on some level or another. I spent some time with a very soft spoken African American woman from Maryland. I laughed at myself trying to explain to a group of young African American girls just who Bruce Springsteen is. I took pictures of a lot of people. It was really COLD. The breeze off the frozen reflecting pool was like an icebox!
I left not long after the music started. I really was just there to feel the crowd. I broke free of the masses just in time to get to have a good dance to "Lean On Me". A few folks slapped my hands walking by. So I went and got a mocha at GWU Hospital’s Starbucks and took the train back to my car. I listened to the radio home and wept like the heavens had opened.