Obama's Inauguration or "how i learned to appreciate Human unity through Mobs"

Pita: F--- obama please tell me u got close to jigga or diddy or even denzel or samuel jackson

Me: Ha ha. Would u really come to the capital of the strongest nation on earth to see the leader or a bunch of celebs

Pita: Jayz has done more for the country than obama so far lol

And so it went. January 20, 2009 a day in history. The air a bit nippier than expected, Barack Hussein Obama was ceremoniously inducted into the oh so rare office of President of the United States.

DC had a really cheery vibe to it; I arrived Sunday afternoon and was flooded with street peddlers selling everything from tshirts, posters, books, pins, hats and wristbands. If the world at large came out to Chinatown, nobody would be questioning a 7.2 Unemployment rate. Trading words with Mohammed Lameen a thirty-something Senegalese man by way of Raleigh, NC; i learned this whole inauguration bit was a good way to make some big bucks. Mohammed had a stand of obama shirts and watches alongside the hundred or so people waiting online to get into the National Archives. In the end I didn't buy the watch since it would have cut my weekend allowance in half, but me and ibba had a good convo with mohammed and continued on our merry way.

People were coming in from all around, I met a Republican out from Cali, people out from Chicago, New Orleans, and more than a few Europeans. Obama-mania reached far and wide. Roughly 1.5 million people showed up for the shabang and not everyone could make it out to the National Mall (including me) to witness obama's swearing in.

I tried dissecting the crowd; why were they there? why was i there?

ibba wisely said that "everyone is projecting their own hopes and aspirations onto obama, they think he will deliver on how they feel what is right"

Thus far, pita was right, obama hasn't done anything...atleast in the public eye.

Meanwhile his rap nemesis jigga jay z hails from 'do or die' bedstuy, owns the rocawear clothing line, owns the NJ Nets, cofounded Roc-a-fella records, and married beyonce - all enough accolades to consider him the one of the most successful rappers ever.

obama on the other-hand grew up in honolulu/jakarta, had a kenyan father and american mother, worked on improving Chicago's South Side, went to Harvard Law, served in the Illinois state senate and US senate pushing for healthcare improvements and welfare reform. His skilled rhetoric  of hope and unity has effectively swept many off their feet and place much optimism in the fate of this nation.

Obama captured the hearts of all people, and we can't get enough of it!

As evangelical extraordinare Rick Warren gave the religious invocation, a woman behind me was praying out loud "God, thank you for Obama, thank you for hope" She was moved to tears, and I couldn't help but feel a little left out.

In his address, Obama tackled the bleary issues; housing and unemployment crisis and the hard months ahead, evils of an abusive corporate world, the war on terror, negotiating with despots, and building bridges with the Muslim world. There was alot to read between the lines, and i'm sure CNN between their coverage of Sasha and Melia's sleepover at the whitehouse can squeeze in an analysis. But i noticed people cheering when Obama uttered 'freedom' or 'liberty' indicating that people are avoiding hard realities, we just came out to feel good.

Unfortunately I missed out on the National Mall, but I found myself on Pennsylvania Avenue awaiting the Presidential Parade down to the White House. For an event that was supposed to kick off at 1430, they started after 1600. That's an hour and a half of restless people just standing and waiting on this bone chilling day. Heck we couldn't even leave the parade route without passing through security checkpoints. Basically if you left before the ceremony started, you would have wasted the 4 hours or more spent trying to get in line.

In those 4 hours I learnt alot. we chatted with our fellow mobbers- families, yuppies, old people, young people you name it. everyone was excited, and everyone wanted to bear witness to the spectacle. For me, i went in precisely to get a glimpse of the cross section of america. I found alot of black people, elderly family people, and twice as many young people. What did it mean for each of us? At the start of an unknown 4 hour queue, everyone seemed happy, chanting, singing, and trading jokes. 3 hours in, people start getting quieter, getting a little pushier. At this point it didn't matter how many people you slipped through, or what barriers you hopped, there was always 100 people in front of you.

Some were blatantly pushing others, while denying it completely. Rumors start spreading that the gates are closed, that what was previously access to the mall, was now access to only the parade route. If you caught a cop or a national guard, they'd all give conflicting answers. To me it felt like a cruel trick, a mass of well meaning people and here we were treated like cattle.

Do you suppose that most of them hear or understand? They are just like cattle. Indeed they are even more astray. 25:44

If it wasn't for the blatant inefficiency of the security, I think i would have enjoyed this alot more. Most of my inauguration day was spent standing and anticipating. It got colder even faster.

By the time Obama made it down to Pennsylvania and 9th, it was 1610. the man was walking down to the 2.2 mile stretch to the White House. For many this was testament that Obama was the real deal and he cared. And while I can't be helped to be warmed by the gesture, it wasn't enough to calm my shivering frame and sore feet. As soon as Obama left my line of sight, me and practically every other black person on the block booked it out of there. The only people left standing were elderly white folk, poor fools. enjoy your parade.

As i regained feeling to my hands and face over some mexican jumbo in a Qdoba (which surprisingly wasn't packed when i got there), i started wondering was my day worth it? The only thing I could remember was the cold and my swollen feet. I forgot about the previous day- an antibush rally in dupont circle, hearing some homeless people talking about a bright american future, signing a blown up constitution, walking along the national mall, taking in the capitol building, the friendly street pushers and a more manageable and less agitated crowd. This city, these people, these rules- lend us a common history, which for better or worse identifies us as the American people.

Obama Mubarak- may God grant him and all of us success.