It might take me a week to process this whole experience. The one thing I know so far is that every time they play "Hail to the Chief" and show Obama, I get tears in my eyes. It's, like, Pavlovian. "Duh duh duh duh duh duh naaaah. Duh duh duh duh duh duh naaaah." And....weeping.
I figured something would bowl me over emotionally — didn't realize it would be exactly that.
Some random things:
- Walking in was super cold, and very surreal once we started walking with the crowds on I-395. I'm pretty sure that is the only time I'll ever walk down the middle of an interstate highway. The same spirit of joy that has been in this city all weekend you could still definitely feel walking out.
- Joe Biden with the hands out when he walked out — so totally Joe Biden and so totally the next mildly tongue-in-cheek American greeting. "Heeeeeeey!"
- Only Aretha Franklin could have pulled off that hat and rocked it like she did. Only Aretha Franklin could have deconstructed "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and built it back up again and made it her own like only she can.
- When can I stimulate the economy by purchasing "Air and Simple Gifts" in MP3? It was so amazingly moving, even moreso since Obama technically became president while they were playing it.
- John Roberts, you had so much less speaking to screw up than Obama. You couldn't have practiced, like, 30 words?
- Obama's speech didn't have quite the same emotional resonance that, say, New Hampshire did. But, it touched perfectly on all the things it needed to, and I think Obama has already raised the bar so high for himself in terms of public speaking that he can really only meet the crazy-high expectations we have for him. Not to mention the fact that we may only recognize the "ask not what..."-type line in that speech months or years from now. I feel like people actually expected the history books to be inspired to rewrite themselves to include this speech. No matter where it ranks in history, it did have exactly the right message, and it was a speech for now (which we need), rather than history (which will take care of itself).