Friday, January 16, 2009

The Old Republic

A friend of mine is pretty pleased with himself that he's going to Washington to see the inauguration of President Obama. Yesterday, there were numerous lengthy and unnecessary explanations for how he'd be out of the office, how he'd be late the following day and how this was all due to his trip to Washington. He seemed to work it into every conversation he could.

"Looking at this coffee I'm reminded of how, though it is black, it is both a comfort in cold times and invigorating with it's strength. I'll need this coffee next Tuesday, while I'm standing in the cold, watching history being made in Washington."

Okay, it wasn't quite as ridiculous as that, but he did hammer the point home over and over. He was going to the inauguration. Somehow, some way, he'd been plucky enough to get a ticket and found the strength to fill his car with a tank of gas. It would be a perilous journey, but he'd dug down deep and found friends to stay with. There would be sacrifice. He was willing to brave crowds and risk eating fast food while driving, all to get a glimpse at the future.

This wasn't just about him. He was going for all of us.

I could perhaps be a bit more kind, a little more thoughtful. It's a big deal to him and maybe to a lot of people. I've seen others get this way over American Idol, but on his way out at the end of the day, as he was explaining for the fifteenth time we were all going to have give him a pass for not being here early in the week because he was going to be in Washington watching the torch of freedom and enlightenment be re lit by the guy we voted to have the matches, I spoke up.

"Hey man, since you're going," I said. "If you happen to pass near Obama during the inauguration, if you could reach out and but touch the hem of his robes, I will be healed. "

He sort of stared at me for a second. It was pretty bad manners on my part and I think I baffled him the layered blasphemy.

"Just have a good time," I said. "See you next week."

And I wish him well. I hope he has a great time. I hope it's everything he wants it to be and that maybe my sour disdain for the cult of personality around Obama is washed away by the works and leadership of a great man. I'm willing to give it a shot at least.

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