Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I don't have much to say about the inauguration. There have already been some snafus, but few people are dwelling on them. Except me. Suellen got the above invitation, but I got none. I guess that's something I'll have to take up with Barack.
The Inauguration Committee apparently sold exclusive rights to broadcasting Sunday's concert on The Mall to HBO. And HBO promptly censored the invocation by Bishop Gene Robinson (usually written as "gay Bishop Gene Robinson"). Two very bad ideas. How you can legally sell exclusive rights to something on The Mall is a mystery to me, and I hope some kind of legislative action is taken to keep that from ever happening again. Maybe after the economic crisis is solved and peace is brought to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. Then I hope they will get right on that.
History flows. Some say it's cyclical, seeing swings from conservative to liberal, and back to conservative again. Some say it's progressive, as ideas like democracy and human rights take hold, and standards of living rise; there are backwards steps, but the trend is toward the better. Some see history being created by unique men and women: the Thomas Jeffersons and Harriet Tubmans of the world. And some see history as the story of mass movements, like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, labor unions, and Nazism; in this view the role of individuals is less important.
I don't know, though I do think about it sometimes. Maybe "All of the above." Probably "None of the above." History flows. Or maybe it doesn't.
I was in the ninth grade when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Now, 45 years later, there are still parts of that day I can recall clearly. They said it was the end of Camelot, and it certainly was. Within 5 years Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were dead, too. I walked with thousands of people in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in memory of King. On the night of the California primary I decided it was time to switch my allegiance from Eugene McCarthy to Robert Kennedy. I woke up the next morning to hear that another Kennedy had been murdered.
And America entered its Dark Ages. The war babies, the "love generation," who were supposed to be committed to ideas like justice and equality, turned out to be committed only to themselves. People promising "Morning in America," feeding on our divisions, turned us against one another; and while enjoying that show, they helped themselves.
We sure are ready for Barack Obama.