It has been a seriously long time since I've been proud to be an American. Yesterday, though, in a living room out here in the wilds of Kansas, I found myself standing as the national anthem was sung at the Inauguration of Barack Obama.
There were about 20 of us in the room -- lesbian and straight together. First one person stood, then another, and then we all stood. We reached out our hands for each other and held on as if we were bobbing up from a deep, murky ocean, and our faces were finally breaking free into the sweet air. We sang the Star Spangled Banner loudly, lustfully and somewhat off tune, but we sang it as if we were standing on the Mall in Washington, D.C. We sang it because we were overcome with love for our country. Tears streamed down my face.
I know I will disagree with Obama on policy. I already do on some things. I suspect that I will be screaming angry at him and his administration at some point. But at that moment, I felt that we had reclaimed what was best about our country. We reclaimed the promise of the United States.
A few more thoughts just in case I wasn't clear...
I seldom agree with Maureen Dowd, but she captured my feelings well. Watching George W. Bush's helicopter fly away, I felt a mass of grief leaving my heart. I had always known that it hurt to watch Bush twist our nation into a place where fear and greed ruled, where one faction was pitted against another for political gain. I just didn't realize until Bush was finally, absolutely gone how much pain I, and we as a nation, had suffered.