Change of address
The inauguration of our 44th president was quite a day to remember. But, for Barack Obama, last Tuesday began as it does for so many millions of Americans: with an awkward co-worker car pool with George W. Bush.
Boy, when he appeared with Obama, those were cheers Bush doesn't hear too often. He probably turned to Obama and said, "What kind of boos are these? Happy boos? We better get in the car before they start throwing victory shoes."
Actually, in the car, Bush gave his last piece of presidential advice: "You know those National Treasure movies? It's all true. Your gold is under your bed."
Then it was off to the legislative red carpet - a veritable who's-who of "Who's that?" - statesmen, Congress people, senators, world leaders and, of course, the Bush twins.
The first lady, Michelle Obama, looked absolutely gorgeous in a dress with a bow suggesting she is a gift to the American people.
Of course the ex-presidents were there as well. There was Jimmy and Roselyn Carter, who are always up for an open-bar party. George H.W. Bush, in what appeared to be a yellow dickey and purple ascot, was dressed as the world's most foppish Vikings fan.
And there's one other major figure I would be remiss if I did not mention. Over the years I've taken my share of jabs at Vice President Dick Cheney, painting him as some evil caricature, a Blofeldian supervillain or someone out of Dr. Stangelove. But he is more complex than that. He is a human being who is not evil ...
What! Are you kidding me?! He came to the inauguration in a wheelchair!
I know you hurt your back, Cheney, but you might as well get rolled out to the Stars Wars Imperial March with a white cat in your lap.
Still, nothing could quell the enthusiasm of the crowd for the most highly anticipated inaugural address of our lifetimes.
"It is time to begin the work of remaking America ... We gather because we chose hope over fear ... Our time of standing pat and protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions, that time has surely passed," Obama said.
Psst, Barack ... George Bush is sitting right behind you.
Here's the sad part: You know what Bush was probably thinking at that moment? Man, this guy is really sticking it to Clinton.
So the big speech ended and President Obama had called for a new American era of responsibility, but one problem remained: How do you clear 2.5 million people off the Washington Mall? Maybe there was a button on Cheney's wheelchair that could accomplish that.
To close the day, we needed someone to give us a little rhyme with a prayer at the same time. Is there anybody that could help us out? You, Joseph Lowery, the most adorable civil rights legend I've ever seen.
"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow can be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man," Lowery said.
When blue will be allowed in too, when puce will be set loose, when we rise above the minutia of fuchsia, and orange ... screw orange!
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