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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today there is change. I watched the inauguration with my teenaged son, which is sort of like inviting the Incredible Hulk to the opera, only without the purple pants.

“You want to watch the inauguration?” I asked, eyeing the living room’s big screen TV.

“Ummm. No,” he answered, sending a random Italian pizza maker to his death with the push of a button.

So, strictly speaking, we didn’t watch the inauguration together, but we were in the same house. While he was playing video games in the living room, I was in the bedroom with Barack Obama, his wife, Michelle, and about 40 zillion other American citizens. But the door was open. AND I had the sound up.

Two months ago, we packed the car full of hope for the future and took the kids to vote. Taking your kids to vote in their first presidential election is like baking biscuits without a recipe for the first time. You know you put in all the right ingredients, but you’re iffy on the amounts of everything, not quite sure if you left something important out by mistake, and you hope you turn out with a basic building block of sustenance and not a crumbly mess that falls to the floor and sticks to the bottom of your shoe.

We didn’t all vote for the same candidate. Of course, out of the four of us we can barely get two to agree what to eat for supper, so it’s probably too much to ask that we see eye-to-eye on the person who will hold the highest office in our nation. The only thing we ever agree on is the need for high speed Internet access, and even then fights break out about cost, time-sharing, and the reliability of Wikipedia for research purposes.

But no matter who you voted for, Inauguration Day is about the American people, exercising the right to be governed in a way that gives them a voice. Come to think of it, sometimes I’d willingly vote for the candidate who could do something about the voices in my house.

“Why does it matter that he’s black?’ says the kid who has always used race more for identification purposes than anything else. His posse has more different nationalities than the opening ceremonies at the Olympic games. He’s as likely to say, “the tan kid with the curly hair” as he is “the one in the green shirt” or “that kid who’s so awesome on Guitar Hero.”

“He’s the first African American president. That’s historically important.”

“I’m the second Pokemon Professor in South Carolina. Doesn’t that count for anything?”

“Well, I’m proud of you, but people traditionally celebrate the first person to do something. The first black president. The first man on the moon. See?”

“I have a Pokemon Professor T Shirt.”

“Mr. Obama has a plan to revive America’s economy.”

“Does he have a T Shirt?”

About that time an enthusiastic supporter waving to the cameras on the National Mall held up a T Shirt of the first family, featuring a smiling Mr. & Mrs. Obama and their two daughters.

I grinned. “Yep. There it is.”

He studied the television screen and shook his head. “Well it’s a good thing he got the job. Maybe now he can get his own T Shirt instead of having to share.”


Nita said...

“Well it’s a good thing he got the job. Maybe now he can get his own T Shirt instead of having to share.” Too funny.

But Amy, he's not alone in caring about the clothing of the first family. The morning after I heard more comments about the clothing Michelle wore than I cared for. At least your son knows what his priorities are, having his own t-shirt. Now that's important.

Blessed said...

I'm older than your son but I can relate to the fact that I see color only as a way to differentiate between my white friend Lisa and my black friend Lisa... however, I do appreciate that this is a historic moment for our country. I'm not a fan of Obama's but politics aside, I wish him well and I hope he is able to accomplish some of the big dreams he has for our country.

Nancy said...

I love that your son acknowledged the new Prez using one of the currencies of his age - whether or not he has his own T-shirt. Wonderful!