Tag Archives: The 44th President of the United States of America

Coming in From the Cold

Well it has finally happened and as I write this my eyes are welling up with tears. Barack Hussein Obama is now the 44th President of the United States of America. Truly a historic event whether or not you like him and whether or not you voted for him. For me, I never felt as connected as I do to this country like I did today.

The day started with me waking up with some difficulty. Apparently I shut off the alarm clock, but the back up alarm on my cellphone did it’s job, jarring me awake with what I call Housewife’s Choice. That’s an old Ska song and it’s not the ringtone but it’s how my mind identified it this morning.

I shuffled through the apartment and I made it to the bus a little later than usual. A different crowd but at around 8:00 there are many coach buses coming down Washington Street so it wasn’t too crowded and quite comfortable. Made it to work a little after 9:00, a bit treacherous since I wore dress shoes and the sidewalks were a bit dodgy.

I took my time and picked up a bagel since it was going to be a long morning, even though for me it was a 3 hour morning at work. I wasn’t sure where I was going to watch the swearing in of President Barack Obama but I was determined to watch it somewhere.

One of the subtenants and I somehow got into a discussion about religion and I revealed that since 9/11 I was an atheist. Before that I was an agnostic. He seemed alarmed by this and seemed to be trying to convert me back into the world of theism.

I resisted as he told me of his problems getting an annulment for his first marriage so he could marry his second wife in a catholic church. I soon walked away from that chat and decided to go to Rockefeller Center to watch the Inauguration.

I tried to get my former co-worker Steve or another subtenant, Trudy to go with me but Steve had other plans and Trudy was stuck at her desk. At 11:30 I headed over, telling Tom Chin & Greg Stevens what I was up to. I had their go ahead, but I think they realized that they really couldn’t stop me.

I lit up a celebratory Padron and headed west towards Fifth Avenue. It wasn’t as crowded as I thought, though there was a few thousand people between the screens on 49th and 50th streets where the Christmas tree usually stands.

I got there in time to hear pRick Warren’s invocation and thankfully it was short, painless and oh so easily ignored. My stress for the past weeks was unneeded.

We The People

We The People


Aretha Franklin singing 'My Country Tis of Thee'

Aretha Franklin singing 'My Country Tis of Thee'

I found a spot at the edge of 30 Rock, in front of the J. Crew window and took various snapshots of the crowd and the screens. A woman stood next to me and I saw her leaning forward to see who was smoking a cigar. I hoped she wasn’t offended by the aroma and when I took a puff she noticed it was me smoking.

‘Oh you’re smoking the cigar. It smells good.’ I told her I was hoping that she wouldn’t be bothered by it and she said she wasn’t. ‘My father used to smoke cigars and it brings back memories so keep smoking!’ And so I did.

The President was sworn in, stumbling a bit when Chief Justice John Roberts messed up his bit, throwing Obama off his mark. Both recovered and concluded while I recorded the oath of office on the screen and followed by shouting Yes! Yes! On the clip I sound quite butch I think. Still my eyes had teared up.

The crowd quickly dispersed but about a hundred of us stayed for Elizabeth Alexanders poem, ‘Praise Song for the Day’ which was beautiful. The Reverend Lowery said his benediction which was somewhat funny and it was enjoyable to hear from a cleric who doesn’t have an air of pomposity.

The poet, Elizabeth Miller, 'Praise Song for the Day'

The poet, Elizabeth Alexander, 'Praise Song for the Day'

The Star Spangled Banner was sung by a choral group from a branch of the armed forces and I sang along with my fedora doffed and placed over my heart. First time I had ever done that. My feet were near frozen from standing and not moving much for an hour in the freezing cold so I stomped around a bit as I headed back to the office.



Before I did that, I needed to go to the Post Office to buy stamps. It was very crowded and I got on a short line for stamp and started chatting with the woman in front of me.

She too had seen the inauguration on TV and was thrilled by the history that was unfolding before her eyes. She asked if I thought if a DVD of today’s event would be for sale and I assured her that it probably would be.

Came back to the office and spoke with Trudy to see if she saw it. She mentioned that she walked over to the subtenants area to watch the inauguration and was dismayed to see them sitting there with the sound turned really low and not enjoying what was going on.

She was bothered enough by their non-reaction to history that she went back to her cube and watched it on CNN online. I told her that some people were sad to see the last 8 years end, and here were 5 of those people.

I set about doing work at my desk as my feet thawed when I heard one of the conservative subtenants say something about Obama’s lies. I wasn’t going to sit or stand for that and mentioned that at least he wasn’t lying about weapons of mass destruction.

One of their co-workers, a fence sitter who sometimes is a democrat and sometimes is a republican said that it would be no use trying to talk some sense to the guy who said what he said. Me, being me, as if I could be someone else, said, yeah well I just got my shoes shined and I don’t want to step in any shit.

The day ended and I came home still feeling high from everything that happened previously in the day. Turned on the TV, went to C Span where the parade was on, just missing the LGBT contingent by seconds. From what I heard, the broadcast networks and cable networks cut away from the LGBT marching band.

Still what I saw was impressive enough to make me want to be there, marching in front of the President of the United States of America, with or without the Junior Rifle Squad. Preferably without since those spats we had to wear were a bitch. Just an unforgettable day, with a lot of work to do, and a lot of people to put to work.


The cause is ennobled, the concept is higher

The Promised Land

Oh my. It happened. History was made last night and I personally am quite glad, and proud to have been able to help with the campaign by volunteering my time and donating some money. This battle was won, the California battle, the No on Prop h8 was lost. But that’s not over yet.

Nice to see that poverty, homelessness and war has been taken care of so that the mormons and the knights of columbus were able to contribute millions of dollars (25 Million and up they say) to ensure that discrimination will be written into the California constitution and enabling thousands of citizens to be deprived of their rights.

So close those catholic schools, forget about feeding the homeless and while they’re at it, forget the basic principles, the very tenets of your faith because you just know that their lord and savior wouldn’t side with the christianists on this vile, hateful issue.

And as far as the mormons go, well 19th century religions lend themselves to an air of ridiculousness and the church of latter day neck bones are at the top of the list. And the same goes for Arizona, Florida and good old Arkansas denying gay people to adopt children that no one else bloody wants.

Let those children suffer rather than have some one help them and love them. Let them fester in loneliness and feelings of not being wanted, all in the name of religion and fear, amen.

Despite that bitter taste in my mouth throughout the day I was overcome, getting choked up and tears welling in my eyes when I think of what was accomplished by Barack Obama. I don’t know if a lot of people that aren’t of color recognize the shit black people have gone through for hundreds of years.

Slavery, the erasing of identities, the separation of families, fighting for the freedom of Europe and the Pacific and coming home to find that they were still second class citizens, being attacked by police dogs and fire hoses for sitting at a lunch counter or refusing to sit at the back of the bus or trying to enroll in schools or trying to vote, the separate but ‘equal’ Jim Crow laws and being told by institutions that they just weren’t as good as white people.

Systematically told this every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, year, decade and century. I was told that I was worthless and no good and an idiot for the first 20 years of my life and that was from my father. I still wear those scars and carry that baggage and my father was just one man.

Imagine a government, a society telling you this over and over for years and years. It will fuck you up. If it’s not easy for me to ‘shake off’ it certainly wouldn’t be easy for a large segment of society.

Barack Obama being elected to the highest office in the land is a remarkable achievement and an historical event and I was glad to witness it with my partner Bill and my dear friend Juan who voted in his first election and hit a home run. My nephew Earl and my niece Corinne also hit home runs voting in their first election and I am proud of all of them

Last night was a bit like New Years Eve, calling up my sister when it was announced that Barack Obama won the election. A few other phone calls, all with celebratory greetings of happiness and tears of joy and calls from friends and family telling me that they were speechless. It actually felt as momentous as New Years Eve 1999.

Last night as it was all unfolding I was fearful, before Bill came home and Juan came over. I turned on MSNBC and they were talking about McCain winning Indiana. I couldn’t believe it and started to feel that same despair I felt in 2004.

I turned it off and waited until Bill came home. Then it was watching the results with Bill and Juan bolstering my spirits. Even as Barack Obama won, I couldn’t believe it though I did. Slept like a rock going to bed at 1:00AM. It only made sense to me today, buying up the big three newspapers for this historical event. I think I’ll keep them under the stairs in the basement.

Letter from Nelson Mandela to the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

5 November 2008
Senator Barack Obama,
Dear Senator Obama,
We join people in your country and around the world in congratulating you on becoming the President-Elect of the United States. Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place.

We note and applaud your commitment to supporting the cause of peace and security around the world. We trust that you will also make it the mission of your Presidency to combat the scourge of poverty and disease everywhere.

We wish you strength and fortitude in the challenging days and years that lie ahead. We are sure you will ultimately achieve your dream making the United States of America a full partner in a community of nations committed to peace and prosperity for all.
N R Mandela
courtesy of the New York Times

“Mister I ain’t a boy, no- I’m a man and I believe in the Promised Land!”

Now give those girls a puppy!