21 January 2013

Inauguration Day, 2013

The temperature today hasn’t yet risen to 0 degrees, and now that the hour is past three in the afternoon, the sun will begin to set and the mercury in the thermometer will begin to fall and the cold will paradoxically increase. Of course, the image of the mercury falling is, in fact, inaccurate: first, because I have no thermometer in which mercury resides to either fall or riseI know the temperature by the application on the iPhoneand because if I did have a thermometer it would probably be a digital device with some kind of sensor to measure the outside temperature not unlike the sensor on my car. In my cabin near the woods there are only two temperatures: cold and warm enough. But the idea of the mercury thermometer suits the romantic image I like to conjure (an accurate word for this activity at this moment) of a traditional rural winter scene with the cabin in (or at least near) the woods and the wood burning stove constantly aflame. Out here in Walden I don’t have that latter device either: radiant heat emanates from the water energized by a boiler in the corner and that flows through plastic tubes under the floor. I sit here warm enough with a navy blue scarf wrapped about my neck typing away awkwardly with my hands covered by wrist warmers knitted graciously by my friend, Barb. The black cat is cold, but still has no desire to enter the cabin, which is fine with me because I appreciate the solitude. But I note that he (or she) is the only feral cat with a hefty and expanding girth.
            President Obama today was inaugurated as President and begins his second (and final) term of office. In his speech I heard echoes of Martin Luther King’s 1963 speech on the steps of the Capitol, Obama replacing the powerful cadences of King’s “I have a dream” with the anaphoric “We the people,” and “Our journey is not complete,” and “Together. . .”   I thought it was a speech that promised a democratic agenda (that is intended with a small ‘d’), and that offered for me a bit of hope for my own and my children’s future. And as long as the Republicans continue to act like asses, the Democrats (this time with a capital D) just might retain control of the White House and have a chance to gain a majority in the Congress. I am reminded of the fate of the Whig Party when they would not support ending slavery and were replaced by an activist Republican Party that succeeded in electing Abraham Lincoln who saved the Union and made possible the United States of the next 150 years and the presidency of Barack Obama. I would have like to hear an echo of Lincoln in Obama’s second Inaugural Address: Lincoln’s political acumen taught Obama something about governing. But you really can’t always get what you want . . . However, I was thrilled not to see any sign of Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan, and I viewed with pleasure the dour face of John Boehner.
We haven’t started this second term, and the news is all about the election of 2016. Me, I’ll go feed the black cat for the evening an pour myself a celebratory drink of single malt scotch and toast the future I can believe in this evening.


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