Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sometimes the shiny new present turns out to be not at all what you thought it was.

For reasons unrelated to the inauguration on Tuesday I was listening to classic rock, including The Who. Just before Obama gave his inauguration address, the song "Won't get fooled again" came on. I paused the song and turned on the sound to Obama's speech.

It was a nice job of speechifying, I thought. I enjoyed it when Obama gave Bush and the neo-cons their well deserved and public spanking. I liked Obama's retelling of the American Myth. I took the whole thing to be what it was intended: a spectacle to signal to the Rest of the World that the USA was still in business, and that a new hand was guiding the Ship of State.

Throughout the speech the camera switched from views of Obama at the podium to views of the crowds thronging the Mall. People with hopeful faces. The song I had just been listening to kept swirling through my mind as background to Obama's speech.

When the swearing-in was done with and the nattering nabobs of the media took their turns telling us what we'd just watched, I muted the stream and returned to my music. Next came the great guitar bridge from the song, followed by the last two lines, which sounded disturbingly prophetic: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

I am by nature an optimistic person, but news items like this one from WiReD (which detail how Obama's administration is unlikely to return to principles of accountability, at least as far as the government's ability to spy on citizens without a warrant is concerned) certainly help to sober me up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When we're about to anoint America's first president of African descent, some folks might call it churlish to suggest that there's still racism in America. Well, here's an article, published last year, which might change their minds. I have nothing to add.