The president of the college made a big but welcomed decision for today. It's the first day of classes for the spring semester, and of course everyone wants to watch the inauguration instead of going to class. So Tom decided that the main theater would broadcast streaming video of the festivities all day long, starting at 8am. I personally thanked him a couple of times; this was truly a community-building event, and he did the right thing. Many 8am classes came in and watched instead of doing classes.
So I sat in the back row of the theater (I had to leave by 9:30 to go to my class, and didn't know when things were going to end), next to some of my colleagues. One of whom, Alicia, is involved in local politics; she had received numerous local and national invitations to go to various festivities, but since she's teaching all day today, well, this would have to do. The theater ended up being packed--I think it holds some 300 people--as we watched history unfold.
My feelings are honestly all over the map. I'm elated to be rid of the previous president; I never voted for him either for governor or president, rarely agreed with his policies, and felt that he took us backwards in so many ways. I'm respectively optimistic; lately I find myself saying a prayer here and there for not just President Obama, but his entire staff, that they are able to make the 'right' (or the 'fair') decisions that are needed. I'm content that a social barrier has been destroyed, but am mindful that there are so, so many more to break.
Perhaps more than anything, I was truly grateful to be part of a moment. My country, which I love in a way that I can't quite explain, is turning a corner. In doing this, our community is healing, is supporting itself, is trying to make a difference. I watched as member after member of the campus--students, staff, faculty, administrators--piled into our theater just to watch a man take his place as one of, if not the, most powerful people in the world. We sat there, coming from various backgrounds, from every socio-economic level, sharing a moment. I can say that I sat with my community when Barak Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States. I never did get wrapped up in the whole 'audacity of hope' that permeated from the campaign, perhaps because I'm a bit of a cynic. But this morning, as I sat in the theater, I truly started to feel hope--and I hope that this continues.