Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today is the day: Inaugration of President Obama, yet, I am not feeling the fever. What's wrong with me?

I am a liberal alright and a staunch Obama supporter. In fact, I am proud of the fact that I "called it" in 2004 before Obama gave that fateful speech at the Democratic Convention that launched him into the national spotlight. (And what's more, he wrote it himself!) I called it even before that: I saw him on TV being interviewed for something, and I told my husband, this guy could run for the president one day and I would vote for him. After the 2004 Dem Convention speech, I was utterly convinced that he has what it takes to be the POTUS and I anxiously waited for someone, someone that mattered to make this official.

I still tell my husband, "I called it before anybody else did!" from time to time, and it annoys him to no end since, of course, it cannot be true that I was the very first one to see this coming...

I was guessing 2012, but it came 4 years earlier to my excitement. At the same time, I was worried that the timing was off, and the country might not be ready for someone so young, and this might ruin his chance forever. (Not ready NOT because he's black but because he is young, relatively "inexperience" - I already predicted that the country would be ready for an African American man to lead them before a woman... but that's for an entire different post later)

During the election, I constantly had panic attacks that we were going to lose again, and be under the GOP thumb for another 4 years. I joked, "kidding on the square", with my husband that we should consider moving to Canada, as we did 4 years ago when Bush won again. On November 4, 2008, I was so happy that my worry was unfounded. He won. WE won!

I admire Obama very much and would like nothing more than the opportunity of speaking to him in person, or even just shaking his hand, like the rest of the nation, judging by the blogs, Facebook updates, Twitter followings, even the news media that lavish praise after praise upon him. He has made so many speeches that brought tears to my eyes. He is able to get in touch with many on a very personal level. I have posted tribute to him myself as well.

I admire Michelle Obama as well, on so many different levels, esp. her being an intelligent person, and a working mother to boot. Like her husband, many have responded to her on a very personal level as well. They are truly an inspiration to the "regular" Americans since as far as I can tell, they have absolutely no ties to any big political names, not the nephew or niece of so-and-so. And for African American women, her being the First Lady has begun to carry so many symbolic meanings, and many of them have been materialized in the new book Go Tell Michelle.

Oh, I have felt the fever alright. During the election.

But I woke up early this morning, at 2:46 am to be exact, feeling a panic attack, because I am not feeling the excitement that the news media has shown us, the screaming fans and all. Don't get me wrong, I am happy. But it feels like, all of a sudden, at a party where everybody is screaming and laughing and drunk with youthful abandon, and well, partying, I am standing in the midst of all this, sober.

I can understand the significance of this event for many people, a significance much much deeper than the face value of a Presidential Inauguration - He IS the first African American to be elected the President of the United States. I cannot begin to imagine the significance of this event on the psyche of African Americans. This is truly a watershed moment that can potentially change the lives of so many, not just in the US, but around the world. The policies he will make, the changes he will carry out (or at least try his darnedest), the wrongs that he will correct (starting with banning waterboarding outright!), the people that he, as the first Black U.S. President, and Michelle, as the first Black First Lady, will inspire, again, not just in this country but all around the world.

But I am not feeling the screaming fan blind adoration bestowed on him as if he were a rock star or a movie star chosen as Sexist Man Alive. Maybe that's my problem. This man has a wife, and two young daughters. And he is going to be OUR President for the next four years. To be honest, I am not cool with screaming female fans treating him like some sort of sex symbol. (Call me a prude... I am never one to fall for a celebrity so maybe that's why I am such a party pooper at this moment). Calling him Obama-daddy trivialized the election of an intelligent capable man who just wants to do the right thing and inspire others to do the same. Selling thongs with his image on it and words "Sleep with Obama" is disrespectful to his wife, not to mention anything else.

Yes, I do have a sense of humor. I found the Obama Girl funny, during the election. But now we have reached our goal and elected the man, hmmm, don't you think it is time to let it go? Last time I checked, this here is the United States, not France....

There lies my problem: I am not seeing him as a celebrity, commanding my unquestioned adoration.

This man is human. He is not Superman.

It is 4:30 am, on the day of the historical Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama who I voted for and wanted for president since before 2004, I am completely sober, much to my liberal chagrin, in the midst of youthful obsession that turns anyone into a Hollywood-style "celebrity".

My cure? Psyching myself up by shopping for the commemorative items on the official PIC2009 website. Get them before they are gone! If I am not feeling the party, at least I can fake it!

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