In 1997, I braved the winter cold on January 20 to attend my first ever - and probably only - presidential inauguration. At the time, I'd just moved back from Germany, was in grad school at the University of Virginia working on my PhD in poli sci, and lucked into a couple of tickets. My parents live in Oklahoma, a very very red state (Note: Oklahoma made the national news this election because not a single county went blue. Not one). So it was hardly surprising that there were loads of tickets to be had for the inauguration.
Being the good poli sci grad student I was, I scooped them up, gathered a group of other poli sci students, and we went to the inauguration.
It was Clinton's second term, so the crowds weren't all that big. It was also bitterly cold and rainy. That kept a few more away. And yet, as I stood with the masses, I couldn't help but feel like I was watching history take place - this peaceful transition of power that occurs every four years in our nation.
So it was with a little bit of envy and a lot of pride this year that I watched the changing of the guard amidst a sea of over 2 million people. I readily admit, I find political science fascinating, even the stuff that make people's eyes glaze over, like 100-page long Supreme Court decisions. But regardless of personal bent toward politics, isn't it something amazing, this changing of power without fighting or bloodshed? It's not a given. But it is a hard won freedom we enjoy here.
I have no idea how Obama's presidency will unfold, but he has done something for this nation that we haven't seen in some time. He's inspired us - both sides of the political fence - to support what we believe in. We've overcome inertia and turned into active, participating citizens. That's true history in the making. Let's keep it going.
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