Amanda Kovattana

Middle-aged musings in interesting times

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Inauguration

As posted to my FB page

Thoughts on the morning of: I am somehow reminded of a sunny January day when the Challenger exploded on live TV. Today it is what is in our heads that will have us glued to the TV. May it be uneventful in the nicest ways. May we be a governable people. May the peaceful transfre of power remain the organizing principle of this country. For it is a beautiful thing. I never fully appreciated this before. 

My Morning After review: I didn’t expect to be so moved by THE INAUGURATION. The joys, the firsts, the brilliant colors all chiefly brought onto the stage by women. It was that final scene in a tense suspenseful movie when those in hiding can come out again into the sunshine. But there was no director artfully manipulating this storytelling. It was ritual that held it together. And in the making of this event each person makes their own decision as to what to bring to it. From my personal favorite, Lady Gaga in her inverted Vulva skirt so large and so red (so as to be seen from the eye of a satellite) belting out the anthem on her own personal gold microphone to the poised and petite powerhouse of a young poet in a bright yellow coat rapping the nation into participatory attention to this thing called democracy. Words to march by.

“If only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

My eyes followed Kamala Harris stepping out in her Shirley Chisholm purple, her pearls and her spike heels with her protector husband standing in ritual on the Capital steps to see her predecessor out. Pence giving us that grace just by attending where the Other would not. And so we had our moment of knowing what it looks like when a woman stands at the helm. A preview. 

And I stayed too to watch the new President and his Dr. First Lady leave in the protector vehicle and then get out and walk all the way to the White House. She again in spiked heels. So much more are the details by which women will be judged. But it is now by with style that ritual is enacted.

And then almost a throwaway moment as Kamala walks up to the White House and returns the salute of the military officer with the many gold braids adorning his coat. Salutes not in submission, but as second in command and as a woman. That’s not something we’ve seen before.

President Jo Biden gave a speech I actually listened to, so compelling was the reality he actually addressed. And then we had a much deserved party of high caliber entertainers all across the nation and a fireworks display that pulled out all the stops. I had no idea what a patriot I was to find this all so gratifying.

But I will offer a recent story. Last year in Thailand at a farming conference attended by a handful of nations I was the sole representative of the U.S. which prompted the presence of our flag on the stage with the five other nations. And we were told that on the final day we would be asked to sing a song of our country. I would have to sing it solo in English, the language everyone would understand. When I thought of the song I would sing I was so choked up by it I near burst into tears in a field of cabbages. So when the microphone was passed around on the shuttle home on the last day I belted out in my best high school musical style the song that had welcomed me to these shores in 5th grade in 1968. 

“This land is your land and this land is my land

From California to the New York Islands

From the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters

This land was made for you and me.”

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