19 January, 2009

Thoughts on the Obama Inauguration

Tommorow is the Obama inauguration and we will definitely be watching. Me in my newly aquired official Obama campaign t-shirt. Which at great cost and effort was organised by my sister and her friends.

It's going to be an emotional day. I know that Obama is not the perfect politician, and we've all learnt again with Tony Blair and Brown that governments come and governments go and the trains still run to Pimlico. But still. America elected an intelligent, thoughtful, liberal by inclination black president and tommorow he gets to work. I love the way that when Americans do democracy, it's infectious, you feel democratic.

My thoughts tomorrow will be added to by the fact that I had the privilege to witness Bill Clinton's second inauguration while I was in the USA. 12 years ago tomorrow. I had just arrived back in Washington from my travels around the country. In fact, if I hadn't got conjunctivitis, I would have been in New York or Boston on that day. But I got on the train and went to the Capitol.

It was a cold cold day. And we witnessed the ceremony via the big television screens on the mall. I can remember that the pictures were out of synch with the speakers that we heard the ceremony from. They reckoned that the crowd was around 250,000. Maybe it will be bigger tomorrow.

Then I was lucky enough to get a good view on the streets of the parade. I don't remember much about the parade apart from one thing, FAMU. FAMU stands for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Its a predominantly black college with arguably the best marching band in the country. All I can remember from the parade was a young black boy from Washington who was just incredibly excited that he got to see the FAMU band doing their thing. He was literally bouncing up and down. I wonder what his emotions, and many others like him, will be tomorrow when FAMU do their thing for President Barack Obama. I would imagine it will be a moment of pride and genuine joy.

Here is a video of FAMU doing their stuff to give you an idea of how special they are.

No comments: