Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Joy in the nation's capitol
The celebration has begun. Saturday I was walking down 14th St on the way to Whole Foods, and one of the shops had a big, beautiful photo of Michelle Obama in the window with a banner, "Happy Birthday, Michelle!" It was her 45th birthday--she's the same age as Sally. People walking by would stop and say "It's her BIRTHday!!!" and hug each other or exchange high fives with strangers. Joy has returned to the nation's capitol.
Cathy and I went to the opening concert Sunday afternoon...walked for miles and froze, but it was GREAT FUN. Bishop Gene Robinson started it off with a prayer (interrupted by rowdies shouting "louder, louder, louder"), then a whole bevy of stars spoke or performed: Bruce Springsteen, Denzel Washington, Samuel Jackson, Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Tom Hanks, Herbie Hancock, Sheryl Crowe, Stevie Wonder, Pete Seeger (89 now!), Garth Brooks, U2!!!, and many others. These are just the ones I remember now. It was my first "rock concert," if you can call it that. People all around us were line dancing--who was playing? Herbie Hancock? Garth Brooks? It was before U2--It was very contagious and joyful. We joined in--even urs truly was stumbling around to the beat. I'm telling you, people here are HAPPY!!!!
The best parts have been the crowds. DC has been transformed--DC is something like 80% black, but you never see that ordinarily. But everyone was downtown yesterday (Monday) with their kids and grandkids and relatives from all over the country--friendly, smiling, chatting with strangers. Buying souvenirs to take home and treasure forever. It's very moving. Their relatives were brought here in chains, and now it's a new day.
Cathy lent me her OBAMA button that lights up and flashes, and a young woman offered me $100 for it yesterday. (I have my own, too, but I forgot to bring it!!!). Cathy actually climbed up on the base of a statue right by PA ave and has declared we're gonna watch the parade from there. We'll see.
By the time we get to 7th and PA, the crowd'll probly be 10 deep. It's just a few short blocks from where she lives, but they're not gonna allow people to camp out all night along the parade route. You can claim a spot by 8am, no earlier. (ha...when Cathy walked Squeak this a.m. at 5, the sidewalks were JAMMED.
I'm home watching TV coverage now..the motorcade bearing the stars of the day has just left the White House. CNN, for whatever brainless reason has impelled seemingly all the media for the past eight years< cannot shut up about RONALD REAGAN!!! Gag me with a maggot, as we said as kids. i shut off the sound. Cheney is in a wheelchair, but I'm willing to bet it was not because he was lifting boxes.
and how they're arriving.