Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Olympia, WA -

I watched the inauguration from the Olympia Film Society's free showing at the Capitol Theater this morning, shoved in with fidgety kids, old people and mild hippies, most of who jeered at every sight of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

For conservatives, it was the belly of the beast, right on down to the near unanimous laughter at Rick Warren's invocation, particularly his faux-lful pronunciation of Ma-LI-a and Sa-SHA. Lord knows, hallowed be his name, that the fat man was over the top.

Also, someone should've reminded Pastor Warren that Barack Obama was not actually an immigrant. And I'm sure a certain segment of the American population couldn't have been happy about this line from Warren.

Help us, o God, to remember that we are Americans united not by race or religion or blood, but by our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

For good measure, Warren even tossed in some eschatology to fit in with Obama's campaign message of hope.

And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.

But it wasn't just the preacher who gave me pause. I was taken aback by Sen. Diane Feinstein's violence plagued words, and the contrast between the man of the hour's, frankly, cocky facial expression and the oath flub (or was that your fault, Justice Roberts).

Yet the defining picture of today's events were the people. Over a million jammed in from the capitol steps all the way to the Washington monument filled with chanting and tear-tracked faces, and even the fire hazard aisles of our own little movie theater, where an overflow crowd craned their necks from the concession stand just to catch a glimpse of what they knew was real history. The kind you wake up at 6:30AM for even after the luster of presidential politics had worn of months ago.

The final days of the Bush administration here along Budd Bay have been mired in a thick fog, a translucent darkness that you could see creeping up and down Capitol Way. When I walked out of the theater immediately upon President Obama's swearing-in around 9:05 in the morning, the fog was still lingering no doubt, but the sky was bright.

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