“This is an historic occasion,” said 70-year-old Millicent Greenburg, who had bused into the capital from Vermont to see the inauguration. “This is a day of real hope. I mean, sometimes you get so used to having an iron boot on your neck that you forget it’s there, and maybe you even grow to love it in a perverse way.”
A younger generation also heralded the change.
“I grew up in a world where two plus two equals five,” said Sandy Jackson, a 17-year-old high schooler from Fort Wayne, Indiana. “A world where you went along with things that were patently untrue and repeated them—all because you were afraid of jackbooted thugs questioning your patriotism. It was truly scary to live here.”
The festivities kicked off earlier this week as Obama, the first U.S. leader freely elected without the taint of a fixed election and polling shenanigans in many years, heard rock star Bruce Springsteen play at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, joining hundreds of thousands of others who came out in the chill Potomac air to pay homage to the man who restored the rule of the people.
“We’re all coming out from a dream,” said D.C. policeman Ray Winograd. “It’s like really looking at your fellow man for the first time in years and asking, ‘What the f*** just happened to us?’”
Historians say that sometimes the transition from a pseudo-military-industrial plutocracy into democracy can be difficult, and that many people cling to the traditions of the past just because they know no other way.
“Can I use that bathroom over there,” asked 82-year-old retired carpet maker Seymore Titelbaum when he approached a U.S. Marine.
“Of course you can,” said Marine Sergeant David “Mole” Isherwood. “This is your country. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.”
Relieved, Titelbaum walked into the bathroom and smelled the crisp air.
“This doesn’t seem like the kind of bathroom that was built by Halliburton in a no-bid contract,” he said. “That’s kind of strange—not having that fear. You really do get to a place where you can’t live without it sometimes.”
Another spectator was less sanguine. Joe Miles, a lawyer and lobbyist from Hollywood, Florida, derided the new president.
“Big man. Big man Obama. What a punk,” he shouted.
Miles’ wife apologized for him.
“He’s really upset. You have to understand, we all kind of got used to this military-regency period. It gets into your heart and your soul and you can’t imagine any other way to live. You really do internalize the fear and act out in really bizarre ways. That’s why this transition to democracy is so scary for some people. The fascist autocracy is now in their hearts, too.”
Politicians reminded Americans that the country is not out of the woods yet.
“Our fledgling democracy is still just leaping out of the nest,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “And we have everything against us. Strained resources. Enemies everywhere. Self-doubt. Wounded pride. The entire legacy left to us from the Cromwellian military protectorate. Coming out of these dark ages is going to be rough.”
From Eric Rasmussen's blog: