Barack Hussein Obama is president of the United States of America. Look into a mirror and say it five times. Nothing happens. Dick Cheney doesn't magically appear behind you, and begin to waterboard you.
Barack Obama. Leader of the mother fucking free world. Incredible, isn't it?
I wasn't able to catch the inauguration on the tele yesterday, as I was on my way back to Toronto from the lovely city of Kingston, Ontario. Let me tell you, though, it was a blessing in disguise. Instead, we tuned the dial of the "Magic Bus" to CBC Radio, and took in the festivities over the airwaves.
When Obama stood behind the podium and delivered his first speech as president, it felt like we were alone. The two of us. Just me and him. I couldn't see the 1.5 million people (!!) who had gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Nope, when I closed my eyes, it was just Barack and I, and he was talking only to me.
It was, as usual, another masterful oratory performance. I could go on and on about how parts of the speech, especially about his father, were very emotional. Or how apt it was that he asked Americans to roll up their sleeves and get to work, because it's the only way they can get themselves out of this mess. Or how he, in other words, told the terrorists of the world to go fuck themselves. And, of course, how he said that after eight ape-shit years, America is "ready to lead once more."
You know what the best part was, though? When Barack showed the "non-believers" some love.
"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers."
Don't worry, I'm not about to get all religious on you. I'm an agnostic. The existence of God cannot be proven, either way. As a betting man, however, I know where I'm putting my money. When it comes to religion, I'm just not sold. And you know why? Because of my dad.
You see, my father is an entrepreneur. A businessman, in every sense of the word. Even if God does exist, I want nothing to do with religion. If there's one lesson my father taught me, that I'll never forget, it's this: get rid of the middleman.
It was a testament to Obama's openness, and a sign of progress, to hear him mention the non-believers in the same breath as the Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus in his first address as the 44th President of the United States of America.
Yep, I'm still smitten. I'm still drinking the proverbial "Obama Kool Aid." I'm still left shaking my head in awe everytime he speaks in public. And I can't help it.
I found it fitting that, while cold as hell, the sun was shining down on America's capital yesterday afternoon. I think January 20th, 2009, will go down in history as one of the brightest days in the history of Washington, D.C, and in the history of America.
Dubya is gone. Change has arrived, and hung up his coat.
I'm proud of you America. A black president. You did good. You did really, really good.
I leave you with the words of Robert Kennedy, who 40 years ago, back in May 1968, so prophetically predicted this day:
"Things are moving so fast in race relations. A Negro could be President in 40 years. There is no question about it. In the next 40 years, a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother has. Prejudice exists and will probably continue to do so...but we have tried to make progress and we are making progress. We are not going to accept the status quo."
You know, after all the speeches and sermons were done yesterday, I didn't just listen to a choir sing The Star-Spangled Banner. I sang it as well.