Saturday, January 24, 2009

At last

I love it that the song the Obamas danced to on election night was "At Last," by the incomparable Etta James:

At last, my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
Oh, yeah, at last
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clovers
The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh, yeah when you smile, you smile
Oh, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine
At last

Yes, at last. At last, it is not irrational to indulge in optimism. At last, I can countenance participating in the civic aspect of my life (voting, volunteering, educating myself and promoting causes) without a sense of futility.

On Tuesday, three of us gathered to watch the ceremony. Three of us cheered the deposing of Cheney as much as the installation of Obama. Three of us, white women (ostensibly - I have a NOLA ancestor listed as colored in one 1800's death roll), middle-aged, independent to liberal in our leanings, uncertain and relieved, talked about how the proceedings failed to touch on the existence of first nations people (until dear Rev. Lowrie gave them a nod in his prayer), talked about how the Rev. Warren speech (it didn't feel like a prayer) intentionally and actively excluded any one who does not call themselves christian. We don't agree with everything that has been done by the administration in its first days, but are relieved that some one has grabbed hold of the reins of government again. For those of us who have felt like we were living in a sick house with a sadistic parent, this is time to cherish being cared for and treated with respect, a time to heal and learn to trust again.

After the ceremony ended, we went to lunch and toasted the regime change with sparkling wine. Oh, at last. This isn't heaven, and this isn't love, but James' song does capture the sensation we feel that something we have longed for has arrived. And for the moment, we can imagine ourselves wrapped up in clovers.


twinsetellen said...

At last, indeed.

Eryka Jackson said...

Hi Cathy,

no joke, I was just singing that song before I clicked on your site. I took rejoiced that day. I was fortunate it spend it with my family. Many a tear was shed that day.