On The Presidential Inauguration

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Like the previous post before this said, I've just been taking everything in over the last few days. MLK day, the inauguration right after, just feeling it for what it is - a moment in history that says so much about who we are as a nation, what we've become, and where we could go.

I have to admit that it took me a while to get it. It didn't just hit me over the head like everyone else. I was all over the board. From McCain to Clinton to Obama, I figured it was a fair fight for everyone and I'd listen to what each had to say. I knew McCain, I knew Clinton, but I had to get to know Obama because I didn't really know much about him.

At the same time I couldn't help but root for the underdog of the Democratic Party in some ways - because in a lot of respects, Clinton was the underdog. There was something that drew me to her simply because of that - because I like a good fight.

But the more I learned, the more I began to know, even if pretty much 50/50, I ended up leaning just a little bit closer to hear what the now President of our nation had to say.

But I was also still apathetic in a lot of ways regardless of what I was watching, reading, or even blogging about. Even though I wanted to know what was going on, even though I sometimes became entrenched in certain events or the perceptions of the Asian American community throughout the process, I still wondered if it really was going to make a difference no matter who won and how historical it was going to be.

Fast forward after the primaries and my vote was sealed. I knew I would go Democratic simply because of certain issues, but in a lot of ways, still didn't quite get it.

I heard about it. I technically knew about it. On a historical level and what I was witnessing I got it (how could I not get such a monumental shift in history?) - and I loved every bit of it.

But still, deep down - I didn't feel it. I didn't get that buzz from Obama himself that everyone else was getting on a personal level, that connection they seemed to have with him. For everything there was about the election that I was into, as much as I was rooting for him to win, that was still missing for me.

Flashback to March and April -- I was back to the Mother Ship in SE Asia leaving during the time that Obama gave his "A More Perfect Union" speech and while I'd heard references to it here and there after that, I never actually sat down and listened to it.

But then one day I did.

And I don't actually recall how I ended up there - but I heard and saw this conviction of truth on matters of race in our society from someone who by all measures didn't have to say as much as he did - as honestly as he did - and by the end - I felt it.

I got it in a way that hadn't hit me before.


So when I saw him standing there taking the oath, making his inaugural speech, I couldn't help but feel a sense of awe and admiration that I haven't felt before, something I know I'll never quite feel again - and while I know it had so much to do with the history, the electing of our first black President, a President of mixed race, a President of color - I also know it had everything to do with what I heard, and what I'm still hoping to hear.