Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The next day: Day One for Obama

I don't know if it's post inauguration euphoria or the darn winter around here, but I'm feeling under the weather today. Chills. The start of body aches. But I got to keep on plugging away. It's like I can hear the clock ticking.

I have so much work to do, and not feeling well doesn't make it easy to memorize scripts, study music theory, or work on finding work. It just makes me want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head. That's how I get when I get sick. I just want to crawl in a hole and be left alone.

A staffing agent called me yesterday after I got home from watching the inauguration in Boston to ask me what was up. She had nothing, with nothing on the horizon. The people she talked to had all laid people off, so they weren't going to hire even contract workers.


I'm...hopeful. That's a very human emotion. It's what gets a lot of us out of bed in the morning despite all signs saying otherwise. I don't think polar bears or sea otters or wolverines hope. We do though. Hope is just one of the many emotions we've developed to keep the species going.

But now that President Obama is safely ensconced in the White House, I guess I can come out with it all. I am hopeful. He's better than what we had in there. (Hell, a kangaroo would have been better. A platypus. A mushroom. Anything or anyone. Was there ever a more inept person running this country?)

But Obama is still a politician, and just as I wrote to someone today, I don't trust politicians at all. Period. I'm old enough to remember Camelot, and just like the war in Iraq has a lot of parallels to Vietnam, the Obama administration is looking a lot like 1961.

And, while his outlook and views are, I think, just what this country needs right now, just like Gerald Ford's milquetoast was exactly what the country needed after Nixon, he is faced with problems that seem almost insurmountable.

But I did like what I heard yesterday. Particularly about making the hard choices and the economy. We're all just going to have to do with less, and that's going to be harder for some than others.

And I think that's a good thing, too. I think the unwonted materialism of this country made many of us compromise our values to the point where many didn't even know we were compromising them anymore. People had to pay for their double-mortgaged houses and SUVs and wide-screen televisions, all paid for with credit. Rather than make our lives better, it made us mean and selfish.

It seems that over the past generation or two, we've become a divided country. You can see it on our magazine stands. There are magazines for acoustic guitars, electric guitars, metal guitars. Name a substrata of human being and there's a magazine for it.

And there was a time when we needed to divide up a bit. African-Americans had to circle the wagons and gain an identity. Women and gays had to fight for rights. And so on.

And that was all a good thing.

But now I think the pendulum is ready to swing the other way, and we have to start looking at ourselves again as one big mighty nation of people. That's pretty much what I heard yesterday.

Obama has a vision for unity. But the nuts and bolts of running a country and breathing life into a dead economy are still the things that gave people pause during the election.

Today is Day One. For Obama.

For me, and a lot of people like me, it's just any other day.
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