Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In Ahhhhgural

Finally, it's over. We've been through the roughest campaign I can remember -- Gore's loss notwithstanding -- and managed to get through today without incident. I held my breath with every step those little girls took on their way to their spots for the swearing-in. I did the same as the President and First Lady strolled confidently along the avenue, though flanked on all sides by a protective force unlike any we've ever seen. It all went off without a hitch as far as we were all concerned. At the office we celebrated the departure of the Bush family and the swapping of the family photographs with a potluck also unlike any I can remember. We managed to get a lot of work done, too, and that's what we have to do every day for the next four years and beyond.

Before that happens, however, there are lots more songs to be sung and dances to be danced. We're in the middle of the inaugural party circuit. One performance makes me feel pretty proud. Bela Fleck was featured on the lineup on the Eisenhower Theatre stage at the Kennedy Center. I didn't research this terribly thoroughly, but the last time a banjo was involved in an inaugural celebration to my knowledge is the Nixon parade, in which Flatts and Scruggs played one of their last gigs together.

Bela of course is a banjo player of a different stripe. Like his sometime collaborator Yo-Yo Ma, his music is fairly boundarie-less. He has gone from being part of the original Newgrass Revival lineup to releasing his own full-length classical recording, Perpetual Motion, with other notable classical artists. He didn't have the opportunity to play this afternoon with his fellow American treasures Ma, Itzahk Perlman, and Anthony McGill. But he'll take the stage tonight and leave a five-string mark on inaugural history his own way.

In honor of our new President who does things his way, here's a short little Bach diddy featuring Fleck and his Flecktones. Here's hoping we're all inspired to think, learn, and act in new ways to get the job done.

Fugue from Prelude and Fugue in A minor by JS Bach (d. 1750).


At January 21, 2009 8:08 PM, Blogger DrDon said...

Well, I'm happy for you. I know Barack was your guy and ultimately I voted for him too. I'm just such a skeptic at heart. Much as I want to believe in something or someone, I think history has just beaten me down. I have no more ability to believe in anyone other than myself. I hope I'm wrong. I wish Obama all the luck in the world. If he accomplishes half of what people expect, it will be a good thing for us and the world.

At January 21, 2009 8:32 PM, Blogger Earl from Ohio said...

To me, one of the best things about having Barack Obama in the White House is cultural.

We have suffered for sooo long with pure CRAP, it's GREAT to have someone with TASTE back in the Oval office. No more "Big Hat, Big Buckle --No Talent" acts in our nation's executive mansion.

At January 21, 2009 10:27 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Ooh, good point, Earl. I hear tell there might even be a Cabinet-level arts position. That's probably asking too much but it would be really cool.

Don, it's kind of you to try to be fair but being happy for me and other Obama supporters isn't what matters. I understand why you'd be skeptical, why anyone would. The President has said over and over that he can't do it alone, and I'm afraid a lot of Americans aren't hearing him. So many of us were brought up to believe that even as adults we'd have to turn to someone else for our well being, our happiness, our future. I think the President understands that people have given up on the Presidency, and I think he will capitalize on that and make decisions that change some things about the way people think about the office and what is expected of the Presidency and more importantly, of themselves. The guy is a community organizer at heart. He has spent his entire working life getting things done by getting other people to take ownership of the goal and working toward it. It didn't always work but the people he helped organize were engaged and it changed how they viewed themselves and their obligation to society. My fervent hope is that his Presidency will be no different.

I really do highly recommend that folks take the time to read his books. There's nothing like getting between somebody's ears to know where they are coming from. I may not agree with everything he writes about, but I learned a lot more about how he thinks, how he makes decisions, and what throws him. As much as we all joked about not wanting our President to be the kind of guy you'd want to sit down and have a beer with, you and I and a number of readers here probably have more in common with him and his struggle for identity and belonging and being accepted for being smart than we'll ever have with another president. (This may change when my daughter is elected in 2040, of course.)

I hope you hang in there, and somewhere begin to include yourself in the conversation, because you are the kind of smart and articulate person who can help knock people back into reality and in fact grease the skids for change to happen. It's gotta be at a very small, real leve, one rush hour elevator ride at a time.

At January 22, 2009 12:48 PM, Blogger Ipsissimus said...

I was a Clinton woman, but thrilled Obama is in there. And thrilled she's going to kick ass as his Secretary of State.

The whole inauguration is a huge party and I decided to let myself sink into it - balls and all! Damn it's nice having an intellectual in the White House again - yet one with blue collar roots who isn't ashamed really touch his wife and show how much he adores her. You could really see that at the parties - I had an awwww moment when the first thing he says is "Isn't my wife good looking?" This isn't your skirt and sweater set "don't touch me in public, dear" snobs. And this isn't a man afraid that being in love makes him weak! I love it.

At January 22, 2009 1:31 PM, Blogger Blueberry said...

It was a beautiful and amazing event. At least there's a chance now for accomplishing certain things, which beats NO chance.

And what a beautiful family that appears to be as functional as a family can get (so far... and the campaign time counts) and good role models! Trying to imagine the endless media circus that would have surrounded the dysfunctional McCains and Palins.

Maybe these things aren't important, and maybe they are.

At January 24, 2009 9:40 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Helloooo Ladies!

Ips, I so agree! This is a president who is just so damn smart, and yet so human. People who are criticizing the "media frenzy" are missing some of these nuances that, at this juncture in our history, are desperately important to people. And I am just GIDDY, ok, GIDDY to have a NERD in the White House.

Blue, I do think these things are important, whether you have a family or not. Barack Obama is nothing if not consistent. He's a Golden Rule kind of guy, and I think we will see that he approaches public policy with the same care he makes decisions about his own family. Not everyone experiences the same transformation when kids come along, but for those of us who have happily succumbed, we can see that the first couple would agree that the toughest job in America isn't being President. It's being parents.


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