Tuesday, January 20, 2009


January 20th, 2009. 12:32 pm. The inauguration address has just ended. We can now say "President Barack Hussein Obama." At the same time, I am unemployed and things are not looking good. My college degree is utterly worthless and I'm looking at restaurant jobs.

But who can kill the optimism in the air? You can't deny that no matter how bad things are, there's a feeling of electricity never felt before for our generation. No one cared about politics, and many people downright loathed the system. I got my "Worst President Ever" T-shirt in 2003, when I started to realize what was going on. I just couldn't believe people were supporting the actions and programs of George W. Bush.

The viewpoint has completely changed. Bush isn't even relevant anymore, and hasn't been for the last 3 months. Everyone is hopeful. Everyone is excited for the future. Everyone thinks it can only get better from here. Despite the economy. Despite the Middle East. Despite the environment. Despite the education system. Everything is going to improve.

I will never forget the night Obama was elected. We were soldering resistors to the circuit board that would later become the theremin. I had no expectations for victory. I remember a quote from a friend's blog that said:

"if you're in New York, and you vaguely recall some slight issues of voter fraud, and there's an abandoned car on fire down your block, the Repubocons gone done and stoled it again. However, if you see more beer bottles on the street than usual, Obama has won."

I think we all expected defeat. We've been used to it. Remember 2004? It was like someone had died. No one could believe Bush got re-elected. How? After all the screw-ups and the endless war in Iraq, how could he get re-elected? It seemed inevitable that it would happen again.

It must have been around my third rum and coke and 55th resistor that I realized we had won. Not only did Obama win, but our generation won. The country won. The world won. There were about fifteen of us watching the acceptance speech. We all hugged and celebrated. I cried a bit. I don't think anyone could possibly understand what the election meant to younger generations. This was OUR future. This was OUR election. So many people, promising to move to Canada, to Europe, to Asia if McCain had won. This time they were serious. Faith in the United States was depleted. It was embarrassing to be a U.S. citizen. We were bullies. We were arrogant. We were rednecks. We loved guns and beer and fightin' for justice.

We had to cling to satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephan Colbert. We got our gratification from the most scathing attacks on the president. With his level of corruption, it wasn't hard either. There was no hope that ANYTHING we believed in would be supported by the Bush administration. Environmental improvement was useless. Peace in the Middle East? Not a chance. I watched No Child Left Behind dominate my 11th grade English class as the Great Gatsby was eliminated to make room for more practice tests. Unemployment skyrocketed in the last year and a vast majority of my friends had no health insurance. We ALL needed this.

On November 4th, 2008 I cried with everyone. I ran down Atherton Street with Sean and ran into Dave Pfister, crying and waving an American flag. We were patriotic again. We were proud of our country. The president was one of us. He knew what needed to be done and was going to strive to do it. Common sense had won. Science had won. Intelligence had won. Peace had won. We knew it was going to be hard, but we were looking forward to the challenge. We were motivated.

We went to the Phyrst and danced all night. It was true, there would be more beer bottles on the street than usual. It was going to be a great Wednesday morning. Everyone who had been working on this campaign would realize their work had meant something. Everyone I knew who stood on the street for six hours a day, that would amount to a brighter future. Finally, everything we had endured would pay off.

Our generation is taking our place as the relevant force of the country. We will be making the decisions and working for causes we believe in. Our government will hear our voice and our president will work for us. The rest of the world will not look upon us with disdain and anger, but with benevolence and support. It is a uniting moment for everyone. We are now Americans. And damn proud of it.

I know there are many people who do not share this viewpoint. I know there are people, even close friends of mine, who are skeptical. I know there will be people who will attack this entry, saying I am naive, blindly following a man that has yet to prove his worth. He's all personality they'll say. He's inexperienced. This is all true, and he DOES have yet to prove himself. But I am confident that he will. Just wait a few years, and then comment on it. If there's nothing to look forward to, what's the point of hoping?


  1. What is your take on the most expensive inauguration in our history being hosted by President Obama in the midst of our extreme economic issues?

  2. No doubt it is a terrible idea, but how could it be prevented? With 2 million people flooding Washington, you have to contain it somehow. I'm not certain how the money was distributed, but I'm sure a majority of it went to security, sound, video, and transportation. But I'm sure a majority of it also went to pay for U2. That alone is enough to make me disgusted.

    BUT, out of the roughly $150 million for the inauguration, $41 million was raised by the inaugural committee. This is still inexcusable, but at least it was slightly alleviated. Tax dollars are paying for security, and I'm okay with that. With the vast number of people that attended the event, you're going to need the security.

    I look at it this way, from HERE on out, we're under Obama. Everything leading up to the inauguration is the past, and from here on out the decisions are important. We're past the celebration. It is okay today, but not again. Because now we have to work. And everyone knows that. If we want to get out of this recession, everyone has to sacrifice.

    But let people have their fun today. Because this good feeling isn't going to come again until we've earned it. And there's a long way to go.

  3. I'm not sure how dramatic the effect of his policies is going to be, but even if he turns out to be incompetent and ineffective (which would shock me), it'll still be a great improvement over the aggressively stupid Bush years. Just the fact that we switched parties has done a lot for America's image overseas; we'll never be able to fix the mistakes of the past years (and not just talking about Bush here) or stop making new ones, but demonstrating that we as a country are capable of changing our minds goes a long way towards humanizing us in the eyes of foreigners. Last summer I would hang with Russians and we would just drink beer and say, man, fuck Bush and fuck Putin, man. Nowadays we send e-mails back and forth saying, man, fuck Putin, man.

  4. That was a very eloquent post, and I completely agree. The last one on Zen and the Art... was great too. I'm more impressed/enlightened/confused everyday when I get through 10 more pages of it.

    Who knows what's going to happen going forward, but it's change and I'm optimistic that it's change for the better. Obama is still a politician, but no one with beginnings like him has gained this much stature. Hopefully that will translate to a more democratic, less greedy way of managing this country. People who feel the need to criticize and nitpick trivial things about Obama are stuck in the greedy, egocentric, consumerist mindset that has infiltrated administrations more and more for the past couple decades. It's the mindset that got us into this mess. It's time to be more humble, helpful, and considerate (of the environment, of where we spend our money, of other cultures and ways of life, of our fellow Americans). Ratrace style capitalism is failing the average American and we need to step back and help each other: this country is a large community, made of many smaller ones.

    I remember election night like it was yesterday: putting a huge dent in the theremin assembly, drinking rum and coke, and realizing (as I got more drunk and my soldering became worse) that our man was actually going to win. The excitement of that night was unreal. It faded a little as we waited for Tuesday, but it finally came. It's only been 2 days and we haven't seen much happen, but I already feel giddy. Call me naive too, but I'd rather be optimistic for a better tomorrow than reliving days of a slow, downward spiral.

    As far as the spending, yeah, they spent 4 times as much as most past inaugurations, but you still bought and received Christmas presents this year, didn't you. And that money wasn't spent on nothing, at least it created some temporary jobs. And for how many people were there - it's only a couple bucks a person.

  5. I think you mean "American Scumbag's blog." And link that shit bitch!