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Permalink - Ed West - Wednesday, May 05, 2010


A Day the World Changed

January 20th started like most days this year; I woke up, got ready for work, and searched for a fresh outfit. I had the DVR fired up to record the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama but I had not planned to watch it that morning. After a shower I decided to click on the T.V. just to see where things were in the process. I thought about my companions and tried to place each of them in their lives. I figured Sharon, Leslie and Rachel woke up to watch it live. I hoped Cynthia and her class got to watch it live as well as part of a “busy work reprieve”. I figured Clayton was working on Inyo and Henry I placed squarely in his bed deep asleep journeying to Washington DC to usher in the new day - something of a spiritual MC. My thoughts wandered as I got comfortable on my couch. 12 hours later I was STILL on my couch with an encyclopedia full of awareness and feeling. This was one of those honestly fun days. A day that really transcends what you were "supposed" to do and honors what you DID do. The task of relaying a lifetime full of feelings in a single document is impossible – but I hope to relay some of them.

I tuned in to ABC 7's coverage of the event around somewhere between 7am and 8am. Though I was a few hours late I decided to watch my recorded (delayed) version from the start rather than miss what had already transcended. I felt like I wanted to see everything – and I do mean EVERY LITTLE THING. If Obama sneezed I wanted to see it. If Laura Bush slapped George I wanted to see it, if Senators were arguing about the seating arrangements I wanted to see it. The first thing I noticed when I got started was the richness and vibrancy of the light and color of the day... the WHOLE day. D.C. in January is one gloomy ass place (trust me; I have been there many times). The trees tend to be dead, the sky is overcast, and the buildings are drearier than Bush’s personality. But this day was different. Things were bright and fresh in a new kind of way. The colors were full and warm, and the gray sky actually had an artistic romance to it. Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer, and George Staphanopoulos had the call for ABC. Charles Gibson opened by saying: "I advise you to put your feet up, get some of your favorite drinks, get some of your favorite snacks and stay with us all day long”. I was WAYYY ahead of him. 3/4 of the country watched or listened to this inauguration and I am proud to be counted as one of them.

I thought back on how I wanted to attend the event in person. I looked into it but cost and time restrictions made it completely restrictive. I did enjoy the feeling of wanting to be there but quite honestly watching from home was just perfect. Some of that credit goes to my 65"HDTV but most of it goes to the Spirit of the day. I saw 1.9 million people assembled 1.5 miles deep facing the White House. I don’t claim to fully understand the dynamics of an assembly of this magnitude but the sight alone was awe inspiring. Later in the day they showed the 400,000 people that attended Bush's reelection in 2005 and it was a drop in the bucket compared to this - not on the same scale, not in the same frequency, and not on the same page of world achievement. 12 hours after seeing this image for the first time I was also inspired to hear that not a SINGLE arrest had taken place during the course of the day, not one person had died (for any reason) and the 2~3 medical issues reported were related to the cold, some minor heart trouble, and a woman being clipped by a passenger train. Shit, there were more senators having medial issues at the inaugural lunch! This defies even basic medical statistics and actuality tables for this number of people in a given time span. The protection MUST have been there. Through all the crowding the people looked so happy and inspired. I saw an 80 year old black woman in a mink coat doing the “hokey pokey" with some white punk rockers with nose rings. Never has the generation, age, sex, and race gap been melted down so sufficiently. It really had the feeling of a greater purpose, and it was clearly infectious. The mixed spirit of America was really on display and broadcast for the world to see.

I got teary many times during the day – I can’t remember all of them… Most were for reasons I would not have expected. I was EXTREMELY moved by Barack Obama’s decision to take the Oath on the Lincoln bible (the first to do so since Lincoln himself). I felt like it was such an honoring of the principal and the great courage that made this country great and an example of leadership and individuality. One man CAN change the world. Lincoln did it, and Obama has the opportunity to do it. I was even touched that Michelle Obama carried it out to the platform. I was also moved to tears that Michelle Obama’s mother is moving into the White House with the Obama’s (I told you not all of this makes much sense). I felt a strong family connection there, or something, that I really appreciated. As the procession of past and present leaders (from Bush to Powel) came out I really cried. I had feeling for each of them and I must admit it was the FIRST time I have had any feeling for most (Bush topping that list). I was really able to see them wrapped up in this change and I saw them as part of America and part of the new hope that has swept over the world. Like the day offered a BIG opportunity to surrender and most did. Again I noticed the beauty of the day and the warmth of the light – everyone looked so beautiful.

I watched Obama closely during the day. Starting with his visit to church (which felt included in the surrender of the day) and then on to greet the current president at the Whitehouse. I felt moved that Michel Obama brought Laura Bush a gift (a journal to record her memoirs). The announcer said that is the first time he had seen that. I really noticed Obama reaching out to Bush in spite of the terror he has caused. Almost as if to say; “we can start this as a new day with no grudges”. I think the world really felt that the 20th was a NEW day, Bush felt it, and I felt it. The power of luvv and joy and hope were present and the radiance was so tremendous you could not help but get charged up. This was truly a day for the “achieves of mankind”.

I cried when I saw Bush walk out during the inauguration. I cried when I saw Dick Chaney in a wheel chair. I cried when Magic Johnson said he was ready to “Go to work for Obama”. I cried when I saw the warmth of the day and when Obama and Michele got out of the limo and walked down the street during the celebration parade. I was particularly inspired by the amount of time the Obama’s spend OUTSIDE the limo on the road to the Whitehouse. I thought that was a real demonstration of trust, personal connection, desire to connect with the people, and even physical endurance. With all those feelings and energy whipping through and a 24 hour day of activities it takes work to walk a few miles waving to people.

I was touched that Obama was concerned for Kennedy when he had his seizure, and how honest he was in addressing it. And I REALLY luvved the Neighborhood Ball (the first of many the president attended). The diversity of artists, the feeling in the room and the energy were unmatched – really something to behold. We certainly have a black president (showcased with some nice dance moves), and people really luvv him. Now Obama must take the lead of America and I must take the lead in my own life. Many people count on me for Luvv, encouragement, and ideas. I am given the most powerful tools available in my life and it is time to use them at a new level. When the World hears YES WE CAN, I don’t want to be the only idiot with my arms crossed.

I hope this gives you a flavor of my feelings on this day. I get choked up even writing about the day and I am nervous to have it on the Welcome Clothing website – but these things needed to be said. I hope you enjoyed the quick recall, the day, our company, and our new world.

Eric Carver | President, Welcome Clothing

Permalink - Ed West - Wednesday, January 21, 2009

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