The Critical Eye

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's Shoes

I was going to go to the national mall today, but decided against it. It's not the cold that discouraged me. Not even the fact that trying to get down to Washington today is more like trying to get to heaven. You see half the world is watching right now as Barack and Michelle Obama make their way to become the forty-fourth President of the United States of America and first lady. This is beyond historic, it's an out of body experience. I feel like someone has been playing Jedi mind tricks with us and somehow we will wake up and realize, "He's not the President."

You see in the midst of all the pomp and circumstance of today. All the fanfare, music and regale, will sit George W. Bush Jr., watching as Barack is inaugurated. It is quite possible that there will be direct references to him in Barack's speech. The camera will pan to his face quite a few times as he listens to historic words. In the middle of all of this, I can hear a small voice saying, "Throw shoes at Bush!" As he sits there, thinking about where to put the archive of "Great moments in Presidential speeches" from David Letterman's show, in his future library; I can envision his sly smile.

It's that borderline smug smile, that I am sure has irritated many. The lack of contriteness on his part during his farewell speech resonates. He is still grasping to the illusion that somehow, he did us favors with his political decisions. He leaves the country in a recession and the middle of two wars. Yet the speech writers found it fit to have him tout that he did, what he felt was best for the country. When Ronald Reagan made his acceptance speech in nineteen eighty one, he spoke of the highest inflation in the nations history. Without saying much, it landed squarely at Jimmy Carter's feet, as the camera panned to his face he kept that famous Jimmy Carter smile. George better not be smiling.

Back to the significance of this moment. Yesterday, before my daughter went to bed , I read to her, Martin Luther King Jr's, "I have a dream" speech. As I begun, I tried to imitate his voice and resonance. My daughter looked at me in the eyes and said, "Daddy, use your own voice, I like it better!" I thought about that and realized, I like Barack's voice. It is Barack's voice that we will be holding our breath to hear today, His words, that will hang in suspension in the cold morning air of Washington DC. As he talks, his every word will be recorded for history, his gestures, inflections and mannerisms analyzed. This moment will be reminiscent of the March for Freedom. The word's "Let freedom ring," seem to be the most appropriate at this time. So no, I am quite sad I did not get to go to the National Mall.

So back to why I did not go to watch the inauguration live. You see it's too cold to go shoeless. Yes in the midst of all the festivities, I might get tempted to throw my shoes just like the Iraqi journalist. It would be a futile effort because there are so many people there, that they have closed off the national mall. So I would be way in the back, throwing my shoes at innocent people and things might get ugly. So there will be no clips of W. ducking again. No need for a delayed response by the security agents as I reached for the second shoe. Okay, okay, so I'm just bashing them, for allowing someone to actually have the time to throw two shoes at the President. They should have been on that Iraqi as he initially reached down.

So as Barack Obama reaches the conclusion of his speech today. As he looks around and sees Dick Cheney sitting in a wheelchair with a strained back muscle (signifying the infirmity of this administration). As Barack looks back and sees George W. smiling that quirky smile of his; I think he should slip his shoes off on the sly, reach down quickly, and throw one at Dick 'Haliburton' Cheney and the other at George 'Recession' Bush. I don't think the agents will even move.

1 comment:

Soul4justice said...

Great piece Soneka. I too read the "I have a dream" speech by MLK the night before, with the intention of preparing myself to receive a part of that the dream the day after. Today I'm still processing the reality that Barack Obama, a black man is the President of the United States, and that for the first time we have a black woman as the first lady... I'm glad we were woken up by Bush's lack of leadership and greed to make a dream a reality.