Tuesday, January 20, 2009

it's over

The Bush administration is over and the Obama administration has finally begun. Finally. It's the biggest day in American history that I have lived through and, probably, that I will ever live through. And I had to work.

Of course, many had it much worse. There are those who were being laid off as President Barack Obama gave his first presidential speech. There were people dying as it happened. Et cetera.

But no matter what else was happening, most of the world was, at least, aware that today the United States swore in this man who stirred hope in many people just when we were about to need it most. Without his campaign of bootstrap enthusiasm and almost irrational optimism, I think we would have met the stock market crash of September 2008 with even more fear and panic than we did. Without his unshakeable smile and bizarre confidence in our ability to rebound, I think the past three months would have been even harder than they have been.

On a different point, one thing that particularly impressed me about his speech was that he said "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers." He included me! I'm an atheist. Has any president ever included atheists and agnostics in their inaugural address? Or any address? He included us as part of the strength of the "patchwork" of our society. Atheists are becoming increasingly organized and even have a lobby in Washington. I take President Obama's inclusion of us as further evidence that our culture is beginning (beginning) to recognize that there are people who don't believe in a god and we're not cursed souls. Beginning to.

President Obama. We can finally stop with all that "president-elect" stuff. President Obama!

And George Walker Bush is gone. He's finally, finally gone. And I still don't forgive those who voted him in for a second term.

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