“Boom. That’s what happening in the parking lot…that’s what’s happening on stage.” Have you ever bookmarked the White House web site? Probably didn’t have a reason to until now. President Obama’s transition web site has moved over to WhiteHouse.gov.
He has pledged to do things differently, emphasizing his effort to make the business of the President as transparent as possible. I even heard him call the White House “The People’s House” on Meet the Press. Honestly, none of us really knows how to feel or what to expect. There is a lot of joy and jubilation folk are feeling right now, which with the economy in shambles and two evolving and unpopular wars demanding closure, is a welcomed sight. I wasn’t able to make it out to the Inauguration, but I caught what I could on cable. Though it was a heavily controlled and media-friendly event, and though Obama and Justice Roberts botched the Oath, the real story was the people who braved the cold to stand for hours and hours waiting to catch a glimpse of Chief Executive No. 44. I watched Obama and Michelle, who was as beautiful and radiant as we have seen her, walk down the street waving to cheering crowds on each side of the street, and I had to admit that Obama has major swag. True, that ain’t enough to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but it sure as hell looked a whole lot better than the gentleman who flew over the White House one last time from a helicopter formerly known as Marine One.
Though Barack’s speech wasn’t my favorite of his orations, it was forceful, direct and earnest, though were I one of his speechwriters I would have scratched the hawkish line: “…We will defeat you!” I kept thinking what Bush must have been thinking sitting there watching Obama put the final touches on his tattered legacy. The line where he stated that the U.S. was friends to every nation was a sharp jab at Bush from the gangly southpaw. But my highlight was Rev. Lowery who brought the Benediction. Lowery’s cadence was perfect. His frail voice was delightful and buoyant. And the school-yard rhyme he dropped on everyone was a gem. “We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right,” he joked drawing laughter from all in attendance. His rhyme encapsulated the racial history of the country that never thought an ascendancy such as Obama’s could happen. More to the point, Rev. Lowery’s rhyme showed the gift of African American humor. As one of my friends used to say: “Even my jokes are serious.” The former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s comic relief seemed to say “you didn’t think we could get here…but we did.”
On that note, let’s push for accountability in these ensuing first 100 days and after. As Common said in a verse: “victory can be claimed while you’re still battling.” Let’s make sure that the People’s Voice is heard loud and clear. And as the Reverend said, “Let all those who do justice and love mercy, say Amen.”