Today

I’ll be watching from work.  And I am feeling kind of… I don’t know… frankly, still disbelieving.  I spent so much of the Bush years in disbelief, wondering if I was the only person who noticed that the government was being run by people who seemed either to believe that democracy and the opinion of Americans sucked (Cheney) or by people who seemed to think that being President and leading the country was like being in a movie–all swagger and tough-guy “bring-it-on-ness” and well-directed photo ops.

I understand people’s annoyance with how Obama is being situated in with Lincoln and Kennedy and Reagan, but my god, at least those are real people and if it means the end of political reasoning like “By god, if it worked for Jack Bauer in 24, it’ll work for us in Cuba!”, I say, with a big wink and a nod at history, “bring it on.”

Obama is going to fuck up.  He’s going to fuck up huge.  And he’s not going to be the world’s greatest president.

I don’t think anyway.

And yet, it’s going to happen.  I feel a little like I felt when I was watching the election and early on in the evening the pundits were all playing it like it was too close and McCain could win and so on and so on all this “America is deeply and equally divided” stuff and then all of a sudden, when they called California for Obama, it was like there was this moment–of disbelief–when it was still fairly early in the evening and Obama had just won handily.  When it was clear that the way we understood ourselves as Americans, the way America had been pitched to us by the media for 8 years, was just not true.

I love how catchy Obama’s “Yes We Can” slogan is (and apparently so does Pepsi), but when I watched the faces of the people around the nation, I thought more it was a cry of relief of “No, we’re not.”  A little bit like the whole country was Scrooge after a long Christmas Eve night, visited by ghosts we hope to never have to see again.

And I love that I will be able to sit alone in my office and watch it on my computer while getting emails and twitters and facebook updates from people who are there.  Has there ever been a time in the history of our country when we were in such constant communication with each other?  It tickles me so much, to know I’ll watch it live with my friends who are there.

And yet, I still can’t believe it’s happening.  Because, I, too, believed that George Bush was who America wanted, that a presidency of action hero posturing was what we thought we were and what we needed.

I was wrong.  I’m delighted that I was wrong.

But I still can’t quite believe this is actually happening.

21 thoughts on “Today

  1. Thank you, B, for once again articulating for us, the inarticulate. (And, today, many of us also will just be verklempt.)

    We are all indeed blessed to be living in this moment. I wonder if we are disbelieving because we’ve kicked so hard for so long against the pricks that we cannot fathom simply walking in the traces with each other again.

    I hope our sense of pleased disbelief still has chances to reemerge — whenever the people we put in charge actually work together for good.

  2. Sure Obama is going to make mistakes. Today I’m not going to think about that, I’m celebrating.

  3. You’re absolutely right. He will f**k up because he’s human.

    Which brings me to what I feel when I think about it — I seriously feel for the man – all the hopes and dreams and expectations he’s got on his shoulders. He’s stepping into an office that probably has much more weight to it than most of his predecessors – not only does he have to lead this country (a heady task), but a whole race of people are looking to him as their Moses. Can you imagine how many expectations are driven in his direction? I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

    I’ve often said “I don’t know why anyone would WANT to be president, but I am glad there are men that are up to the task.”

    You articulated things well.

  4. You’re absolutely right. He will f**k up because he’s human.

    At what point do we extend George Bush the same courtesy of understanding?

    Look, I get that we’re all unhappy with a lot that he did, including those of us (me) who voted for him.

    And honestly, even though I didn’t vote for Obama, I’m glad he’s the one who got elected and not McCain–for whom I didn’t vote either. Obama is more optimistic and less bellicose. That’s exactly what we need right now.

    But I’d like to see folks realise that GWB had a hard job, too. Even though you didn’t like him.

  5. Not feeling it, Kat. There’s a difference between human error and human errors made over and over again, deliberately pursued and enlarged upon, enshrined into policy, and pursued in violation of our Constitution. Everyone errs, but it takes a real arrogant dumbass to embrace error and make it the signature of his administration.

    Humans err but responsible and humble humans learn from error. The departing President never did, as a cursory reading of his numerous exit interviews demonstrate.

  6. Okay, I am mildly appalled by everyone singing “Hey, Hey, Hey, Good-bye” to Bush, but I am shocked that anyone at MSNBC is shocked by it.

    And it’s kind of funny, too.

    I wonder if the people in Washington just did not get what the feelings out here were?

    Oh, wait, no I don’t.

  7. MSNBC’s coverage is becoming increasingly spotty, but I can’t even get places like C-SPAN to pull up, so I’ll stick with the spotty, but working, I guess.

  8. Holy shit. Rick Warren is a terribly pray-er! There are lots of reasons to not have invited him, but the most obvious one and the one I was least aware of is that he’s a terrible invocation giver. Wow.

  9. Is Aretha’s dad still kicking around? Maybe they should have just had him. But I’m tickled to see the pastor’s daughter representing for pastors’ daughters everywhere.

  10. At what point do we extend George Bush the same courtesy of understanding?

    Kat, GWB had a hard job too – I agree. I think he got a raw deal in a lot of ways.

  11. The minute Bush admits his mistakes and asks for forgiveness, I’ll forgive him. But while he’s still calling his mistakes achievements, I think I’ll pass.

    BTW, I had to quit following on CNN and switch to the NY Times feed, which was awesome and had no commentators.

  12. > But I’d like to see folks realise that GWB had a hard job, too.

    Your honor, don’t send me to prison for killing my parents. Show leniency because I’m an orphan. You don’t get to start an ugly, baseless, senseless war of aggression and then complain about how you have a hard job as a war-time President.

    BTW, torturing people isn’t an “error”. It’s evil. It’s the kind of thing that is so beyond the pale, that there shouldn’t even be debate about it. This is doubly true because it doesn’t work.

  13. Kat – The difference is that GWB never acknowledged that he made mistakes. His indifference and hubris is unmatched. People don’re respect that. Barack Obama has already acknowledged that he will make mistakes and my speculation is that he will accept responsibility and apologize when he eventually does.

  14. At what point do we extend George Bush the same courtesy of understanding?

    I’d love to extend him the same courtesy, but he won’t acknowledge that he’s made any mistakes. If everything has turned out precisely how he’d hoped, explain why exactly I should feel sorry for him? He had a hard job, but as far as he’s letting on, he did it perfectly, thus I can find nothing but contempt for the policy positions and actions he took which he to this day claims were the right thing to do.

  15. I’m not going to defend Bush or his legacy, but he has acknowledged, and not a moment too soon, that he made some mistakes during his presidency.

    And without a doubt, he set the stage for Obama much the same way Nixon set the stage for Carter.

  16. George W. Bush was (is) a major disappointment but really, give it a rest.

    I mean, “[u]gly, baseless, senseless war of aggression…”? Really? You make it sound like he sat in the Oval Office and just threw a dart at a world map, looking for somewhere to invade for his own personal amusement.

    But Bush was primarily isolationist in orientation when he took office, succeeding a president who, by the way, sent troops to places with arguably much less relevance to national security than Iraq.

    Disagree with the rationale for the Iraq invasion if you will but don’t pretend as though there wasn’t any rationale at all. And don’t think Bush is the only president who has ever lacked a bulletproof case for going to war.

    The War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish -American War, World War I, Vietnam…heck, a real hardliner could even argue the European theater in World War II…none of these had completely bulletproof rationales for American instigation or involvement. But history has vindicated some of these. For all we really know, history may do the same here as well. Or, perhaps not.

  17. he has acknowledged, and not a moment too soon, that he made some mistakes during his presidency.

    Which mistakes specifically has he acknowledged? I’m aware that he made some vague “I’m sure that I’ve probably made some mistakes, I think maybe in the some of the people who I’ve appointed” comment, but I was unaware that he has specifically and explicitly acknowledged a given mistake or that he (more importantly) took corrective action.

    Doesn’t matter at this point. The ball is in President Obama’s court now.

  18. Dolphin, he acknowledged that hanging up the “Mission Accomplished” banner was a mistake (OK, I forgive him for having a bad sense of PR), and he has said that not actually finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a “disappointment.”

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