Tuesday, January 20

Obama inauguration...Change has come!

It is a historic day today. I am watching Obama taking office. And I wish I was there in D.C. right now. After having lived there for two and half years, not being there today makes me sad. Its exactly one month since I left D.C. And so I am trying to blog live as I watch TV.

9.45 am (CT): The crows cheers crazily as Obama and Bush walk out of the White House. That man does have an infectious smile. And Michelle Obama is a charming woman. The crowds are enormous and considering how it felt that day in November walking down D.C's streets and reflecting back upon the last few days of the campaign, I can only imagine what the mall must feel like today.

9.55 am (CT): The motorcade is driving down to the ceremony and its a sight to behold. A sea of people cheering them. Not being an American, or black doesn't matter. It just feels amazing!

Did I ever watch an Indian PM being swore in with this indescribable feeling within me? Maybe when A.B. Vajpayee was sworn in. But I was too young to remember too vividly. I was excited. Having heard him talk had been a pleasure during the election campaign. And I must say he is one of my favorite orators. More on it later though.

10.00 am: Bush and Obama arrive at the Capitol to arrive at the swearing in podium on the West side.

10.05 am: Obama's cabinet members arrive.

Who is that announcer? Nice voice.

What are they feeling? Biden's mother and Bush's parents? And the Clinton's as they walk down to the ceremony? It could have been her being sworn in today! They have been through the ritual before. She looks happy. She is a graceful lady, no doubt. And Carter is walking in too. And the Bush kids.

10.28am: And there are Sasha and Malia and their grandmother. Those are two cute little girls. Smart kids. All smiles. They must be so proud. Michelle's mother too. And they are taking pictures.

They are showing the movers taking out the boxes from the White House. And apparently everything, the actual moving in is done during this ceremony. Having moved houses quite a few times, I think that is impressive. They have help. But even then.

10.32 am: Bush is walking down the corridor, and I feel a little bad for him.
Michelle Obama and Jill Biden have come out.
Cheney is in a wheelchair. For a proud man like him, that must be difficult.

10.36 am: President Bush walks out. The final few moments, and then he is back to Texas. Does he look relieved?

10.38 am: Obama is in the corridor. Looks proud, happy, a slight smile on his face. But contemplative. So many hopes and expectations from him. Smart man. So confident. I would like a John Malkovich moment right now.

10.43 am (CT): And there is Obama, walking out for his swearing in. Goodness!
There is humility on his face as Rick Warren reads the invocation.

10.57 am (CT): The actual swearing in to being... Biden sworn in.
A musical performance. Beautiful. Solemn. And happy.

It is 12.00 ET, which means that Obama is President now. Power transfer takes place at 12 ET on 20 Jan. according to the Constitution. Though there is some debate about what happens if the actual oath has not been taken till then. The White House website has changed to "Change has come." More about it later.

11.05 am (CT): Obama is finally being sworn in. He has taken his full name. And slipped for a moment in reciting the actual oath. Michelle smiles. And Obama is President. The crowds have gone crazy! Many smiles and tears. And now for the much awaited speech.

Speech: Says he is humbled by the generosity. Thanks Bush for his service to the nation. Mentions the many challenges and that they will be overcome together. What a wonderful speaker! Revoking the ancestors. Calls upon people to remake America. Taking bold and swift action. Question is not weather government is too big or small, but if it works. Talks of restoring trust between people and government. About accountability and regulation. America is friend of all, he says. And I want to believe him. He talks of reducing the nuclear threat. Addresses the Muslim world and says wants peace and friendship. "We will extend a hand if you unclench your fist." He refers to his father often. And the spirit of America and the possibility of doing right and good through hardwork. A beautiful speech. Such language. He is said to have written it himself. The language is consistent with his campaign speeches, and I think it might be his writing. He talked about so much in those 15 minutes. There was a strong call for action. Appropriate considering that it is his first speech as President.

11.40 am: The presidential party starts to leave. A beautiful ceremony. And yes, change has come.

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