Congratulations to Tyler on his engagement! Having never participated I have no advice whatsoever for you about weddings or marriage. But I did enjoy your recent blog entry. I'm getting ahead though. Tim, this is a great idea, nice going. Noelle, thanks for setting it up. And congratulations to me, an old fart actually able to hobble over here to post a blog entry!
I enjoyed Tim's entry also and agree with him that the ideal political party would combine social liberalism with fiscal conservatism, though I do not translate "fiscal conservatism" as no social entitlements. It's impossible in a capitalist economy for everyone to become wealthy enough to pay for all that life can throw at you. That's because any economic system needs a workforce and labor is treated as a cost that must be controlled. Can you imagine what its like to live in this society making $10 per hour? And that is almost $4 higher than minimum wage!
I have to weigh in on this inaugural expense issue by setting this expenditure in a broader perspective than has been offered so far. As a person of modest means I am dumbfounded by any expenditures that exceed, oh say $1 million. So whenever tons of money is spent on anything I'm quite sceptical of its necessity. The Iraq war comes to mind. Expensive weddings come to mind. But I would argue that this is not your garden variety presidential inauguration; in fact its actually much more than an inauguration. As white Americans we all need to take a quiet moment sitting in our favorite chair to reflect on what this event means to people of color.
Imagine for a moment that you are a black kid growing up somewhere in the south in the 1950's walking by a park with two drinking fountains, one for whites and one for "coloreds" and your mom has to pull you away because you go for the wrong one. Or you are a young newlywed couple married in 1965 Atlanta looking for a nice restaurant to celebrate your anniversary but you're turned away because Negroes are not allowed. Or you are an educated African American in downtown Chicago in 1979 and you search and search for a professional job in the private sector and no one will hire you, but they won't say why. Or you are a 50 year old black man exiting a fine hotel in downtown Boston in 1988 waiting for the valet to bring your car and a thirtysometing white guy comes out and barks at you to get him his car. Or you're a young black bride to be in 1993 Salt Lake City looking at wedding dresses in a suburban store and no salesperson bothers to approach you. Or you're a 25 year old brown skined male driving around anytown USA in 2005 and you get pulled over by the police and harrassed for no reason other than you fit the profile of a troublemaker.
Now think of all the average, honest, hardworking, taxpaying, patriotic African Americans alive today who have ingrained in their psyche that although they are legally Americans, somehow they're really not because white people just don't look at them in a way that says "you're one of us". Feel the sense of being on the outside of society looking in. Then one November day in 2008 the entire country, still mostly white people, elect a person of color to be the leader of the entire country. In 12 hours of voting almost 400 years of disrespect are seemingly erased. (African slaves were first brought to Virginia in 1619).
Yes its all very symbolic, but incredibly real and emtionally powerful nonetheless. This inauguration is not just the swearing in of a new president. For every American with skin darker that European, this is a euphoric moment in their personal life. These are individuals who have experienced racially motivated ignoring, disrespect, humiliation, and rejection in the daily events of their personal lives. All I'm saying is we as whites who have always had the comfort of being on the inside and being fully socially accepted need to be sensitive to what this moment means to the "coloreds".
Let them celebrate...and of course it costs alot, there's 3 million people on the Mall in Washington as I write this. Let "them" celebrate....and I don't know about you, but as an American I'm joining them in spirit because I'm so happy for them...and for our country...we've come a long, long way since 1619.