I watched the Inauguration on Monday with Matthew and the kids. It was a much less formal affair than 4 years ago when we invited people over and I hung bunting and crap. This time it was just us in the living room on the couch under some blankets. I was surprised then, as we watched the ceremony, that I was even more moved than in 2009. Maybe it's because there is a certain amount of leave-taking in the mix with second inaugurations, since you know it's the last one. That, and the memories of the battles of the last four years, lent a note of melancholy to the day that made the whole thing more poignant. It was a midpoint, as much looking back as looking forward, and it made me sad for what hasn't been accomplished as much as I am excited for what is to come. I am a realist, often a cynic, but I do love Obama and I want his administration to be able to come through on some things before the lame duck malaise sets in.
Matthew has been watching "The West Wing" all over again on Netflix. I watch the occasional one with him but mostly I can't go through all that Sorkin-y stuff again. One thing struck me though. Do you know what they were debating in the first episode? Bombing Syria and gun control. Seriously. 14 years ago they were debating the same issues that are dominating headlines right now. Which shouldn't surprise me and yet I sat there with my mouth open. You don't expect a current events tv show from 14 years ago to only be dated by the clothing. I want so much for Obama to tick a few things off that short list he shared in his speech. Gun control, marriage equality, immigration, climate change. Meaningful movement in each of these areas is going to be a tall order in the 2 years or so before the next election seizes everything up or some world event sets everyone's hair on fire. But I am hopeful. Today I am hopeful that a few years from now when someone is having a "West Wing" marathon they will think, wow, things really have changed.