20 January 2009

WE CAN, Y-E-S.

Count me in among the throngs of Americans that watched/listened to our 44th President being sworn in this morning. I was driving to an interpreting gig at 11:40am and listening to NPR's coverage on the car radio...and I didn't get past the opening remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein without having tears streaming down my face.

Why? Well, for one thing, I'm a Democrat. I have been a Democrat since I was old enough to know there were two main political parties in the United States. My parents are Democrats, though far more moderate/almost conservative than I in their political and social views. My sister and her husband are Democrats. I work in a social service field, often with the very people that make up the Grass Roots. The election of a Democratic president in concert with a Democratic congress to me signals a new era for my country and it makes me hopeful...something I haven't been very often over the last eight years.

Another reason is that this is the last time I will watch an inauguration of an American president while living in America for the time being. I will still remain American after I move to the UK with my husband, but there is something electric in the air here today. To be an American in America on a day when someone who wasn't even considered a human being when he was born just because of the color of his skin rise to become president of our country is overwhelming and amazing and I'm filled with pride in my country...something else I haven't felt in recent years.

I got to the job site early and sat in the parking lot, still listening to the proceedings on NPR. I got to hear VP Biden take his oath, then got out of the car to see my deaf client waiting on me. I explained that I was sorry to be late for the appointment, but that I wanted to hear the swearing in at least before we went inside. The deaf client agreed with me and asked me to interpret what was going on via the radio. The feeling was that we weren't going to go in until "OBAMA PRESIDENT, FINISH! WE CAN, Y-E-S!" (translated to spoken English: we weren't going in until Obama is president, YES WE CAN!) I interpreted the oath as I heard it via NPR and my client and I high-fived...and I cried a little again.

Yes we did...and now, yes we can. YES WE CAN.

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