After last week's social bonanza, it's nice to have some downtime today and tonight. With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday and the Presidential Inauguration Tuesday, it hasn't felt quite like a "normal" week (whatever that means). Witnessing the beginning of a historic presidency has been surreal in many respects. Some lingering thoughts:
Heard lots of inauguration prayer comparisons, contrasts, and critiques (probably more than the average Joe, since I work for a church). It's weird to hear people approach prayer, even public prayer, from such an evaluative stance. Wonder if many Americans functionally believe they have both the right and the duty to form and voice an opinion on everything. I think that's individually, corporately, and culturally crazymaking.
Already really tired of sore winners—those whose unbridled hope in the Obama presidency seems to require that they seek a full explanation from anyone not visibly celebrating alongside them. It's pretty disrespectful and relationally grotesque, and I don't recall Bush supporters demanding answers from those who didn't receive his presidency with a full-body embrace. Thankfully, the sore winners are a small minority, and maybe the inspiration they've been enjoying will eventually lead them to a place of accepting and respecting differences—a position many of them vocally espouse.
The Obamas are just plain fun to watch. I think many of us find (or project) a relatability to them that we haven't seen in the executive office before. Of course, this raises the possibility that some of the positive feeling that's been branded as "hope" (and make no mistake—legitimate or not, hope was definitely branded and marketed) could simply be narcissism—the presidency just became more about us than it seemed to be previously. The executive branch seems to be where many of us look for that connection (as the Loveline crew used to say, "Where's Dad?"). Whatever the reason, and regardless of the other concerns I may have, it certainly feels more engaging (even though my actual life is pretty much exactly the same as last week at this time).
That all might sound like I'm completely down on Obama, but that'd be an untrue reading. To break out the old, tired line regularly used about Christians, there's a lot I like about Obama—it's (some of) his followers who push me away. And more than that, I'm just not that interested in having extensive thoughts, feelings, and opinions about him at all. For some reason, that's hard for a few to believe, but truthfully, if I were to make a good old-fashioned pie chart about what I'm up for devoting my attention and energy toward, the executive branch of the federal government wouldn't get much of a slice (ever, regardless of who's in the office). And it's weird to me that that's weird to anyone else—I feel disrespected when my choice is challenged, because not only am I free to make it, but I also believe I've made some good decisions on where I spend my attention and energy instead.