It's been a week since the inauguration and I'm still trying to recover. So much hoopla during a time when the economy is suffering. So much money spent. Billions. I have trouble fathoming that amount. It's beyond my comprehension. I hope a good bit of it was funneled to workers who need the money. An honest day's pay for an honest job.
What really stays with me is my embarrassment for the people of this country. I know that I'm not alone. I also know that it was brought back to me when a friend in Southern California sent me an e-mail last night with some amazing photos of that day, many taken from behind-the-scenes angles we don't normally see. The photos were from a Denver newspaper. Most were utterly charming. Some were incredibly horrifying. Well, they were to me.
Let's start with the charming. No one can question the now-former president's love of children. There's a candid of him bending down to speak, face-to-face, with the new president's younger daughter. It's a charming moment in time on a day that had to be bittersweet for him, given his approval rating, or lack thereof. Yet, he managed to show grace under pressure, put his own feelings aside and communicate with a child. How many of us could have done that?
There were pictures of the crowd shown from an angle we average citizens will not experience first-hand: the top of the Capitol steps. A vast sea of people were there in the cold to witness the event of a president being sworn in.
And then there were the photos of people who were in the throng, several of them photographed wearing the American flag. Do they not know that this is illegal? That it's a desecration of the flag of these United States of America?
Worse: the people chanting at President Bush. I don't care what you think, how you feel, he represents the office of the President of The United States of America. How disrespectful of the office, how disgusting. A friend told he that he would have done the same. It's a good thing he told me in an e-mail because I'm sure that my face would have reflected utter horror. There have always been presidents people didn't like but they at least had the common decency to show respect for the Office. He's out. He's gone. What more do you want? I've seen sore losers but this is the first time I've witnessed sore winners. I felt bile rising in my throat. I protested the war in Vietnam. That was a time of turmoil the likes of which I will never forget but I wouldn't have dreamed of booing and chanting when Johnson left office.
Some people of color to whom I'm linked on Facebook remarked that they were embarrassed; that it looked like a ghetto party. Their words, not mine. I wouldn't know what to call it beyond shameful. A disgusting display of bad manners and bad taste.
Another photo showed the new president and vice president seeing the Bush's off on the helicopter. Biden had the decency to salute. Obama displayed no such grace or respect for the office he had just assumed.
It's going to take time to get the bad taste out of my mouth. It should have been a day of pride in our nation because whether people wanted Obama or voted for McCain, as always, we move forward on inauguration day. This was just a divisive exhibition and an embarrassing moment in history. Ugly American has taken on whole new meaning.
Causes Darlene Arden Supports
The Marcia Polimer Abrams Fund for Canine Behavior Studies at the AKC Canine Health Foundation