I, like many Americans, am still beside myself after listening to Obama's speech yesterday. As I watched with other SFers in front of City Hall yesterday morning, I was struck by our new president's ballsiness to criticize the former administration outright. Where some orators use euphemisms and allusions to policy and concepts that were corrupt and wrong, Obama chose to give his millions of supporters across the globe a confirmation on his promise for Change by blatantly describing where his administration would pave the way for a completely different (and long overdue) path, one that resonates with the integrity of what this country (and we as its citizens) is really about.
I felt like I was taking a shower in optimism and accountability and cleansing myself of those dirty words used by Bush to describe America's mission in the world that negatively tainted our image worldwide. I felt like I could own my nationality once again.
When I was at UCSD, majoring in History, my favorite professor, David Gutierrez, asked us to write a term paper about whether or not the 1960s era left any real significant legacy on our country. We had all become so cynical, after the Reagan administration and then that of George Bush, Sr., and how corporations had taken over the country and multinationals over the world. I remember that I began writing that term paper arguing that all was lost and our country had flushed idealism down the toilet and steered toward a comfortable apathy that stemmed from an unhealthy diet of over-consumption and greed. Then I threw the paper away and started over again because I wanted to believe that progress is possible, and the work of grassroots organizations and inspiring leaders have really made a difference in people's lives, their attitudes and mentalities, especially among the disenfranchised. Yesterday morning felt like confirmation of that notion that I had way back in 1991. (I got an "A" on my paper, by the way.)
I can't say much more, because I'm sure you heard what he said too. It was a phenomenal speech to mark the birth of a nation.