In a previous entry I commented, in the context of a discussion of racism, that I kept forgetting Obama is black. (Spare me the tedious arguments that he’s “only half black.” Thank you.) Watching the inauguration Tuesday, I must update my comments.

obama-lincolnThe Admiral had the good sense to DVR the inauguration ceremony so that we could watch it after work. After fixing a Bombay Sapphire and tonic, we started the recording and settled in to watch. We live less than a hundred miles from DC and had been hearing cautionary stories about travel into the area, bridge closings and general chaos.  I was impressed at the number of people willing to to face all of the challenges, not the least of which was the expected shortage of porta potties. But all of that evaporated as we watched the ceremony itself.

We watched the VIPs being escorted through the White House to their seats, half expecting to see Joan Rivers ask each one, “who are you wearing tonight?”  Then there was the quartet playing (and later we learned, syncing) “Airs and Simple Gifts,” a rather tepid piece by John Williams, the Walmart Greeter of Contemporary Composers. Oh well. It beats Sousa music and Itzahk Perlman, my favorite violinist, was looking pretty buff. On the other hand, Duh-bya was looking a bit worse for the wear and largely overlooked, as though he had received a last minute invitation largely as a courtesy.

What was more enjoyable than Obama’s speech, which we thought was moving if not sobering, was the ecstatic look on the faces of the attendees, especially African Americans. It was impossible to overlook the significance of what was happening,  just as it was impossible to not feel proud of what America has finally done. And in the midst of a steady stream of bad economic news, it was the first time we have not just hope, but confidence that there is someone in the White House who can lead us out of this mess.

I’ve always wanted a president who was smarter than I am. Believe me, I’m no rocket surgeon, but Bush 43 made me feel brilliant. Obama leaves me feeling grateful that finally there’s someone in the White House who READS (imagine that), values science and not doctrine, and is decisive and focused. Is he equal to the job ahead? You bet. Will he be dodging slings and arrows for the next four years? Of course. I may even toss a few myself. But the bottom line is, I have confidence in the president that I haven’t had for eight years.

It’s a refreshing feeling.