Watching the inauguration -- 01/20/09

Oh, c'mon, I bet you probably watched it too...

As I commented on John Bailey's page, I think this may have been the first one I ever watched. I have vague memories of President Kennedy's inauguration on television, but since I was in my senior year of high school, unless I played hooky that particular day, I would have been in school and unable to watch. (No classroom televisions in those days.) I must be remembering watching it on the evening news, clips of Robert Frost's craggy New England face squinting in the sunlight, Kennedy's speech "The torch is passed to a new generation of Americans..."

Hmmm, it's just occurred to me that, once again, my generation got skipped over... as usual... I guess there just aren't enough of us... especially when compared with the Baby Boom hordes who followed us. Eisenhower was the first of the World War II veterans, but the difference between him and Kennedy was that he was a middle-aged man during the war, the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe and Kennedy was a very young man during that war. He was the first president who was born in the 20th century. He was followed by more World War II veterans -- LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Bush senior. But we went right from Bush senior to Bill Clinton, a Baby Boomer, followed by George W. Bush, another Boomer, and now President Obama, barely old enough to be in the trailing echelon of the Baby Boom.

Hey, I've got a kid who is just seven years younger than him.

I remember watching the election returns in 1960 and when they declared Kennedy to be the winner one of the television announcers (I think it was David Brinkley) said "I now join millions of Americans who suddenly find themselves to be older than the next President of the United States."

It won't be too many more presidential elections before I find myself to be the father of a child who will be older than the President of the United States.

You know, one of these days this kind of stuff is going to make me feel old.

Anyway, I watched today.

I watched, at first, via streaming video on the Web site of a Providence television station -- on a laptop set next to the screen and keyboard of the machine I was working on -- but once Obama began his speech, the hesitations in the Internet video feed were annoying, so I went into the living room to watch it on television.

I liked his speech. I thought he said the right things (and said them well).

Oh, of course, Congress will screw up everything he tries to do. But then they always seem to manage to do that these days, don't they? They are busy loading down every proposal that they get their corrupt and greedy hands on with layer upon layer of pork and more pork to benefit the special interests who bribe them. Call it campaign contributions, etc. -- or special mortgage deals that they are certain every ordinary mortgage seeker gets (isn't that right, Senator Dodd, you corrupt piece of filth) -- a bribe is a bribe is a bribe is a bribe.

Can President Obama somehow overcome the cesspool that Congress has become? It's not very likely, given that his party has a majority in both houses but also has a majority of the most corrupt members, but how likely would today have seemed when Martin Luther King spoke at the Lincoln Memorial? And yet, today did happen.

So on a day like today I choose to think that maybe somehow we could still catch another stray miracle or two...

A site that presents extremely abbreviated versions of noted science fiction and fantasy novels -- they call it "book a minute" but it won't even take that long to read most of them: http://www.rinkworks.com/bookaminute/sff.shtml

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