I was lucky that I didn't go into work on Tuesday until 1:00 so I was able to see Mr. Obama be sworn in as the President. There are few moments on television that effected me as much as that one did. The last time I can recall being that overcome with emotion from watching events on TV was on 9/11. I was off that day and getting ready to go out when a friend called me that morning and told me to put the TV on. I did, just in time to watch the plane hit the second tower. I sat down on the couch in a fog, watching the scenes unfurl on the screen for the new few hours, unable to tear myself away.
Thankfully this time the emotion were the polar opposite of what I was feeling that day. I sat transfixed watching the cameras pan the crowd of everyday Americans, black and white, men and women, gay and straight, stand out in the cold so they could partake as history was made that day. People were overcome with joy, some openly weeping as they stood there.
Watching Aretha, with that wonderful hat only Aretha would have worn, walk up to the mike and sing those words, as we all mouthed those words that we all now so well. That day we were all Americans, united together.
I admit to tears in my eyes as I watched Barack Obama took the oath of office. It was a great feeling, like Christmas morning when you're a kid and wake up to find the tree circled in presents. I was proud of my country and what we were doing that day.
Than after the swearing in I had to get ready to go to work. I went in, expecting everyone would be talking about what had happened that day. I was greeted with silence on the subject. No one brought it up unless I mentioned it first.
I live in a state where only 11% of white men voted for Barack Obama. It was the lowest percentage in the country.
I work at a place where not one other white man that I know of voted for Barack Obama. And I'm pretty sure I would have known if there was another one there because I was pretty vocal in my support of Mr. Obama. Everyone knew where I stood. I can guarantee my car was the only one in the parking lot that bore an Obama bumper sticker.
I was hoping someone would talk about it. Someone mention it. Someone realize that even though they didn't vote for him history had been made regardless that day. And that even though they didn't vote for him they hoped he would succeed and do a good job. But nothing.
I can't recall one person bringing up the inauguration to me that day. I talked about it. I couldn't not talk about it. How many times in a lifetime do we witness a day unlike any other? But I couldn't pull more than a few words from anyone about it. All I was left with was a thunderous silence.