Yesterday, January 20 2009, was an exciting day, an astounding day. I watched almost the entire inauguration, from about 11.30 EST, on Sky’s brilliant HD service, thanks to the tipoff from @stewbagz. At about 10 o’clock American time, I rang up BT to connect my local deli, the famed MuchADo, owned by Brooklyn-lite, Matt, and with a long phone call, they successfully connected us to WiFi. So if you are driving up (or down) the M1, plan to exit on J14 near Milton Keynes and drop in for brunch, lunch or tea! The best deli between London and Edinburgh!
Up-and-running, I apologized to other coffee drinkers and offered to turn down the sound, but they elected to watch too! I later reconnected at home to Sky’s brilliant HD service and watched through to the end of transmission at midnight British time.
For me, I watched the crowd, which was enormous, and seemingly ‘relieved’ and in a gentle mood. I watched the organization which leaves me gob-smacked in its size, intricacy and well-oiled machinery. I listed out for the poetry, and of course, for the speech.
When it was all over, I asked myself what did I really feel under this tidal wave of emotion. What was the key image?
For me, the key image was undoubtedly the dignitaries coming down to the podium, mostly two-by-two and interspersed nicely to give the commentators a chance to do their thing.
Like so many people, for the first time, I felt that the corridors of power were mine, that I was represented there, and that I could be there just as easily as people I was watching.
For the first time, I feel that if I have a complaint, I can do something about it. Just do something about it. Not wait and not beg permission. Simply raise it to the attention of people who need to know and organize a solution.
For the first time, I feel that if I have a plan, I should just lay it out, discuss it with people who care, and do something about it.
And of course, now the corridors of power are ours, the future is entirely what we make of it.
As a non-American, of course, the corridors of power that I saw are not mine in a literal sense. But what America achieved today was a sense that democracy belongs to us. Thank you.