Mallroom blitz


inaug05.jpg picture by pemerytx

Photo from LA Times


In Barack Obama’s demeanor, in his inauguration speech, and in the wide- and long-stretching sea of people watching him, was everything.  Everything of the senses, every sight, sound, emotion, ran wildly the gamut within them, within all of us watching everywhere.  Everything that each of us have become swirled tumultuously within us as we imagined how and where we will fit in.


I don’t recall truer words coming from any man taking office, maybe any man, period.  But as I listened to Obama’s call to the American people to a greatness so many of us have forgotten, I was very aware of the tiredness I feel.


The last ten to twenty years have been hard on the American people.  Like me, many people are badly burned out and unhealed from careers that sapped everything from them as tasks got added to their job descriptions with every one of the myriad layoffs during that time.  We worked harder and longer to try and keep up but it was impossible.  And we were the “lucky” ones.  We had jobs.  Others became tired of trying to find work, tired of poverty and the devastating toll it takes on bodies and souls, tired of a war they didn’t believe in, tired.


In the words of Obama’s speech and in the eyes of that wide- and long-stretching sea of people in DC watching, in that everything, in my mind’s eye, in a lightning flash of clarity, I could see the exceptional ones within our country as a whole and what that thing is that it takes to be exceptional, to be great.  It was gone so fast that I couldn’t tell you what that thing was, but I came away knowing I didn’t find it within me.


As sad as that was to me, if I feel it, chances are others do, too, and for every one of those others, the swirling tumult within me cries a prayer:  that there be enough Americans who are on fire and have the energy and the will to keep this good, great positive momentum going until it sweeps up even the tired ones to hope and to a new era of Americans willing and able to sacrifice selflessly, momentously for others, for their families and other families, for the country, for the world.


And I have great hope for that, for as I watched the rest of the inauguration ceremony, the Bush send-off, and the luncheon, I was reminded of a great man I worked for once, who demanded my best and then pushed me beyond it.  I rebelled at first and I paid for it, but as I watched that man, the way he carried himself, and the way he conducted himself with others, the greatest admiration for him built within me, as did a will to emulate him along with a knowing that I could.  And I did.  And I think Barack Obama will be that kind mentor for the majority of Americans.


In Barack Obama’s demeanor, in what he says and does and how he says and does it, is everything.  Truly.



inaug03.jpg picture by pemerytx

Photo from LA Times 


“Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around … when yellow will be mellow … when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen”

The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery

13 responses to “Mallroom blitz

  1. every now and then, a rare man walks upon the face of this earth, one who personifies greatness the way you have described it, someone whom the masses look up to. may this man be endowed with all the grit to take up the mammoth task that the people have entrusted him with. it is not just america, but the world that is looking up to him, just in the way the world has always looked up to your great country to lead from the front, in the pursuit of creating a world that would be better suited for generations to come. in that sense, may i take the liberty of including in your prayer one little bit that i find missing – that there be a new era of americans who willingly sacrifice for their family and others’ families, for their country, and for the world at large!

    love you for your honesty – in recognizing greatness in others, and yet being candid enough to declare not having found it within yourself – to me, that in itself is a sign of a greatness greater than anything.

    thank you for this, somehow, i my eyes welled up reading it.

  2. i read this a few times and dropped a comment. and then i couldn’t resist reading it over a few more times – such is the quality of your words – the emotions conveyed subtly yet boldly and beautifully.

    the fan in me wishes you’d depart more often from fiction and write out your thoughts such as this one :)

  3. I love the clarity of what you’ve written. Your writing, fiction and non-fiction, reveals a humility that resonates with dharmabum’s sentiments.
    I was teaching on Tuesday. Every classroom had their televisions on and throughout the day you could hear the excited voices of teachers, parents and students saying, “did you hear?”, “did you see”, and ” don’t you feel?”, I can’t believe it!”…
    This momentous event allowed us one of those rare times in our busyness,to stop and ponder, to look up from our little lives and see, if just for a moment, that we are part of something greater than ourselves. I think so many of us wonder how can we hold that, act on it, keep the good going?
    My very young students, understanding so little of the gravity of our world’s situation, stood and cheered at the oath of office. They quickly whispered questions and listened with intent during Obama’s speech and stood and cheered again when he was finished. They were connected.
    Through them I see that when we are all (even the youngest) moved to act in the best interest of others, there is hope. I think that hope is Everything!


    What you’ve both written here is inspiring and stands alone. If I were to add anything else to the core messages, besides expressing gratitude, I’d be either muddying or watering what you’ve expressed. Both responses to the inauguration and what it means were their own tear-welling experiences : )

    I acknowledge your wishes. Thanks for telling me what you’d like more of here. I guarantee if I have something I think is worthy to say, I’ll say it directly and not via fiction. It’s dangerous, though, so easy to slip into a soliloquy that selfishly excludes the audience, and there’s already enough of that in the blogosphere. I think the ideal is the way you do, drawing pictures of what happened, drawing yourself in as another of the characters, a humble witness, involving readers objectively in the unfolding telling. It’s Kerouac-ish, a style of recounting real life that I’d like to try my hand at if it works out.

    Now that’s something. You’re inundated with one of the best ways to see out through the eyes of little lives. Fresh views we all could use. I wonder, if a second or third grader had a filled out command of the English language, how would they express what they

  5. Ms A: Regards your reply to dharmabum: I like your mix of real (nonfiction) and “more real” (fiction), but I don’t think you need to worry about overstepping a boundary. Your tribe of Alister-readers loves you for all your words, and most decidedly for the personality behind and within those words. Transparency’s a myth, cher. Yes, blogobloats do indeed exist, but you ain’t one, so you can throw all your magnificent fiction at us, as well as your reflections and memoirs. We’ll (and I ain’t just talkin’ me) eat it all up, like beautiful blue hogs at the trough.

    All a little out of the spirit of what moved us all on Tuesday; I feel rooted to my place in a world and an experiment I WANT to be a part of now.

    I hear your weariness, sister. We’ve been shell-shocked for years now by a government and policies we not only could not believe in, but also felt deeply ashamed of: we’ve been in hiding, cynicism our only refuge. Underneath them chains is weariness, no? Ache gonna lift in time, girl.

    “Let’s go down, down to the river to pray…”

    Transparency’s a myth. I like that. And the term blogobloats, too. Of course I’d argue with you that if I don’t overstep the boundary to blah-blah-blah it’s because I do worry about it. And I would tell you that any mix here is a result of stumbling along the path of finding out. I still feel like it’s not been all that long since I’ve broken loose from the straight and narrow jacket, feel like I’ve got a lot to work out. But like you say, ache gonna lift in time. And the beautiful blue hogs, they for sure a sign. For “as I went down to the river to pray, studying about that good old way,” the corporate ex, she came to play, her starry crown in disarray, sang hey there son, don’t you put on down, don’t you put on down your roots too low, don’t you put ‘em down too thick, neither, ‘cause the winds of change, they a-rippin’ through, and in times like these you gots to be, I say you gots to be like a tumbleweed ;-)

  7. The part where you write that you can see what greatness is, yet fail to find it within yourself resonated with me. It is exactly how I feel as well. Seeing how he conducts himself, witnessing the power of his intellect, the power of his words, seeing how he moves the masses with his oratorical gift … screamed to me, “this is exactly the type of leader we need, this world needs.”

    As a country we have been living too long in a state of apathy and depression, forced into the roles of powerless victims, because of a former administration’s ineptness, ignorance and arrogance. What Tuesday did for us, what Obama did for us, is breathe new life into our lungs and taken us out of this catatonic state that we’ve been inhabiting.

    I once again feel empowered, I once again feel hope, I once again, in my little corner of the universe believe that I, too, can be all that I can be and feel as if my contributions, my two measly cents, will affect towards the better part of the whole. Because this man not only leads by power but, more importantly, by example. And, that is exactly the role model this country and world needs.

    This was terrific, Miss Alister. You expressed this so well.

    What comfort that you felt the same about greatness. And I’ll be darned if it’s not the same exact comfort I feel that you once again feel empowered. Funny and awesome thing, that : ) I’ve a way to go, but I don’t just think I’ll get there. There’s no more doubt in that than knowing Obama’s going to get an astounding lot of things done within his term. He’s strong, unwavering, faithful to his cause, which is our cause, and intelligent enough to get our goals, which are the world’s goals as well. It’s a full circle thing. And I’m enthused now, pleased and proud now to be a part of this country, ramping up to your third paragraph now! New life indeed, Rebecca. Thanks so much for your inspiring words, for stopping by here : )

  9. A. Some blogger-writers simply describe their surroundings and their feelings and their thoughts, assuming them to be interesting and of value to others and they usually are not.
    Some blogger-writers create surroundings that inspire feelings and cultivate thoughts, assuming nothing of the reader but that they, too, might enjoy the process of discovering a new thing only words can tell.

    B. As for that Obama fellow, that he is intelligent and knows how to listen is impressive. That he has real family (of man) values is inspiring. He so seems the man of the hour it is difficult to reconcile he got only some 52% of the vote! Do 48% of us still think he’s a bad idea? Exciting times indeed!

  10. BASS
    Welcome, Bass, to the potential you’ve created for a great discussion with your good points in A and surprising stats in B.

    A. I’d say let’s issue a depth challenge, but I’m in shallow right now. I’d say let’s list the most eye-rolling all-about-me blog sites we’ve ever endured, but that’d be more mean than I wanna be. It seems to beg something, though…

    B. I mostly float by feel down the Piscean stream not searching for stats ‘cause the process leaves me cold, more like a pissed wet cat than a cold fish. But if someone does the homework for me, I can enjoy being sufficiently impressed. Like now, like I’d venture to say the 48% stays hanging closely there until some fruits begin to drop from the tree.

    Maybe we can entice some brainy Harvard man we know to toss in his two cents…

  11. I yield to the summa cum flatlander, Mr Jimmie Dale Gilmore (“Midnight Train” from After Awhile CD). Better JDG than TSE and his “humankind cannot bear” mewlings…):

    The midnight train is a long and a slow one
    Your seat is reserved, the brakeman is tired
    Timetable’s set with exceptions for no one
    No luggage allowed, no ticket required

    It will be there right on time at the station
    Even if midnight must come at high noon
    You will not know that train’s destination
    And you’ll not leave late nor a minute too soon

    You may sit beside fear and go worse than lonely
    Or travel with trust and love and faith restored
    These choices you have and these choices only
    When that train rolls in and you step on board

    Now that whistle blows, yes, it’s already whinin’
    If you listen close, you can hear it soft and clear
    And that headlight burns, yes, it’s already shinin’
    And you might as well choose right now
    It’s love or fear, it’s love or fear

    Well, I was lookin’ for your brain cells, smart man, but turns out this’ll do jess fine. Finer than fine, as a matter of fact. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t have put down a finer song. I know its truth. I do. But something in me picks fear, nearly ever’ time.


    …and the entire congregation, they rose to their feets, some-a them’s a-tremblin’ and some-a them’s a-thunderin’, and they hollered unwaverin’, “AMEN!”

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