It's a pretty big deal, and the 2,000,000 or so people on or near the Mall in Washington, D.C., seem to think so, too. That figure is an estimate from the Park Police, reported on a news channel. I haven't found it in online news yet.
The Lemming ReminiscesI've seen a few big milestones go by in American history since I was born, back in the Truman administration. I remember the:
- First president who identified himself as Catholic
- End of segregated lunch counters and drinking fountains
- First pocked calculator
- Last working steam locomotive in the Red River Valley of the North
- Jet airliners take over long-distance passenger service
- First people to walk on the Moon
- Beginning of direct long-distance dialing
- First commercial push-button phone
- First trans-Atlantic live television signal
- Man to carry his baby in public without ridicule
- High school boy to take Home Ec
- High school girl to take Shop
Someone in central North America being able to order a book from a store in England, and be reading it a few days later, isn't just convenient. It makes Europe, and North America, and Asia, and Africa, and all the rest of the 'connected' world, neighbors. I think we're only beginning to see major changes in the way people deal with each other, coming from 'the Information Age.'
Depending on your point of view, the world is cosier, or more crowded. And each of us, again depending on how you see things, has either a wonderful set of new neighbors on the block, or a neighborhood full of disturbingly different strangers.
I tend to see the world as a cosier place, with a refreshingly unfamiliar set of neighbors as close as an online forum: but I know that not everybody sees things that way.
Back to ObamaBarack Obama is black. About half his ancestors came from Africa. His father is from Kenya: and yes, Barack Obama is an America citizen. Born in Hawaii. Thanks to peculiarities of various laws, he had dual American/Kenyan citizenship until he was 21, but make no mistake: Barack Obama is an American citizen.
Not everybody's happy about Barack Obama being president. There are quite a few people who will hate the current president at least as much as others hated #43. It'll be for different reasons, but the feelings will, I think, be about the same.
Judging from the crowd in Washington, D.C., having a sort of street party on steroids, a whole lot more Americans are tickled pink that Obama will be behind the big desk in the Oval Office. We may not get an 'official' count for Obama's inaugural audience. The National Park Service says that Congress told it to stop doing those crowd counts, when the NPS came up with a number that Congress didn't like for the 1995 Million Man March.
I'm glad that I was around when Martin Luther King led an effective civil rights organization, and now, then the first American president who is from Hawaii - and black - took the oath of office.
What I feel is at most pennies on the dollar to what the Reverend Joseph Lowery must be experiencing. As CNN put it:
"The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a close friend of King's who will deliver the benediction at Obama's inauguration, said the timing of the two events 'reflects the mysticism of the movement.'
"[Andrew] Young chuckled upon hearing Lowery's words relayed and added, 'I always say that coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. ... I can't think of a nicer birthday present for Martin Luther King.' "
Barack Obama Day at Apathetic Lemming of the NorthI've decided to make today's posts 'all Obama, all the time,' more or less. I've found a few items that should be interesting. Don't worry, though, the Lemming isn't making this into a fan site. I just think that an historic occasion like this warrants special treatment.
News and views:
- "More than 1M crowd DC for Obama's inauguration"
The Associated Press (January 20, 2009)
- "Inauguration Insider: An Instant Moment in History"
FOXNews (January 20, 2009)
- "Record Web crowd flocks to CNN and Facebook's live inauguration stream"
Los Angeles Times (January 20, 2009)
- "Security tight as Obama takes oath"
CNN (January 20, 2009)
- "Civil rights vets: Fight not over because Obama reaches top"
CNN (January 19, 2009)
- "President Barack Obama: An American Made History Today"
(January 20, 2009)