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The Inauguration: “It's Priceless. I Cried Out of Happiness. There Is Hope.”

The two of us threw our support behind Barack Obama’s candidacy early on and are deeply gratified that this gifted, inspiring man will become our president Tuesday. America and the world will be immensely better with Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the helm—and with Michelle Obama as First Lady. We tear up typing the words.


But, even before the Obamas move into the White House, we’ve taken issue with a few isolated decisions. A couple Cabinet nominations seem more political than statesmanlike—and the best we can say of his inclusion of Prop Hate supporter Rick Warren is that, by delivering this affront to a community stung by Prop 8’s passage, Obama has given himself an opportunity to grow into a more just and equitable position on same-sex marriage once his administration has found its footing.

But don’t you feel even in these short months of the transition that our country is in surer hands? George Bush and Dick Cheney—there’s really no debate that these are the worst presidential pair in living memory—have left a mess. Yet, what is already becoming the famous “Obama Kool” is having its effect, reassuring us that plans are in the works and talented people are moving into place to face the monumental task of putting us on a better course. And you don’t have to wonder if someone behind the scenes—a Rumsfeld or a Paulson—is calling the shots.

So our poll this week afforded LA Progressive readers the chance to express their joy that Barack will become president, delight that Michelle will be the first Black First Lady, relief that the Bush-Cheney Debacle is about to end, and, in a few cases, reservations.

Of the 207 who responded to the poll 15% plan to attend the Inauguration in D.C. and 55% have friends or family who are attending in person. Few had attended any other inauguration: five for Jimmy Carter’s, ten for Bill Clinton, and four for George W. Bush. Judging from this response, interest in this inauguration is markedly higher.

Sharon’s daughter and son-in-law live just outside D.C. in Alexandria, Virginia, so we probably could have crashed on a couch and jostled ourselves into position somewhere. But both of us—and Sharon especially—are crowd-averse, so we probably would have ended up watching the event on television. Instead, we’ll join fellow members at the California African American Museum next to USC and go from there.

For those staying closer to home like us, 5% are attending a lavish inaugural ball and 17% are going to a political gathering or club party. Another 40 are celebrating at someone’s home with family and friends, and 24% are going to watch at home alone or with one or two others. Finally, 2% of our respondents say they’re going to observe the solemn occasion by walking the dog.

dick and sharon

But dog walking is decidedly not the majority opinion. Rather than attempt to interpret the many comments, we'll let this overwhelmingly joyous sample speak—no sing—for the group.

To see the full report of survey results,click here.

Dick Price and Sharon Kyle
Editor and Publisher, LA Progressive

What special meaning does the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden hold for you?

I am counting on them keeping their word in this time of crisis and getting us back on track. I swell up inside and am proud we are finally inaugurating a black president. MLK would be proud and I sure am! (Typing this brings chills and almost tears!)

In Barack Obama and Joe Biden we have chosen leaders who are committed to the goals, concerns and welfare of all Americans. I believe they are committed to healing the rift between conservative and liberal ideas that began with Reagan and was tragically perfected by Bush/Cheney. The tough choices that Obama/Biden need to make and that voters must overwhelmingly support, implement and endure will determine their successes. There's the rub.

It's priceless. I cried out of happiness. There is hope

This is a momentous event for several reasons: the end of the Bush era, a restoration of integrity to the White House, the inauguration of the first African-American president, the return of respect for science over ideology in decision making, etc. In short, it gives us HOPE - for wise environmental decisions, a national health policy, financial recovery, fairer distribution of wealth, and more. Obama has a huge task ahead but this Inauguration can be a turning point in our nation's history.

I know to the depth of me that Barack is the model for a new birth of freedom that is inner and outer. Vastly multidimensional and profound in wisdom. He will show the way to have the Peace people always say they want but to little to achieve because it starts within. It takes a clear intention in awareness. Joe too personifies love and compassion and clearly the two have a perfect rapport. Those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear will learn what true humanity is and manifest it.

Sociologically he's the first postmodern president - child of divorce, not from a privileged background, ethnically mixed. But I'm honestly more jazzed about having the first black First Lady since Sally Hemings. The reputation and role of past First Ladies has been to set an ideal standard of womanhood, and she IS that ideal for today. She is accomplished, ambitious, brilliant, passionate, loyal - not to mention gorgeous and naturally I envy her style. And Jill Biden seems cool too.

I hope that the Democratic Party will return to its progressive roots and not follow the failed policies of the Republicans and DLC Democrats. There is too much at stake to take baby steps. We have to get full single-payer healthcare for all. We have to STOP the extreme militarization of our society that has led us into endless wars. We need a RETURN of the fairness doctrine so there can be some semblance of reality in the news we see. We need to restore the constitution. All possible now.

It's so much more than inaugurating our first African American President. I'm hopeful that people will now begin to have the courage to start tackling progressive issues that are overdue for attention: clean energy, universal health care (it'll SAVE, not cost, taxpayers money in the long run), and an economic policy that recognizes that economic stability and prosperity starts with supporting the middle class.

This Inauguration is the most important of my life because I volunteered for nearly two years to help elect Barack Obama, as did thousands of Americans. This victory represents the powerful outcomes that can result when all different kinds of Americans transcend their differences to overcome common challenges and achieve common goals.

This will be a great moment in American history. Americans finally chose to see the real value of a man, and allowed his talent, intelligence and dedication to shine through. Now comes the challenge- for us as a people to help keep the promise of this country. I can't say enough good about Michelle Obama!! She is so amazing, what a speaker, mother, incredibly inspiring person!!!

This is historic. Barack is a talented and inspirational man who happens to be a African American. At 85 years of age I am happy that I am here for this wonderful time. My whole family is celebrating.

I now have hope for myself, my family, the country and the world. I feel as if some of the weight is being lifted off of my shoulders and I will be able to survive. Life is coming back into balance and we will be able to breathe, love and laugh again. Thank you all for all of the hard work that went into electing a good man to run our country.

Absolute change & the unknown is very exciting. Also, a sense of solidarity among Americans is apparent, even as the economy continues to spiral downward. Barack Obama has raised the bar on so many accounts. America has been dumbed down for eight very long years. And yes, as a person of color, it is monumental to see another person of color occupy the seat of US president. However, it is President-elect Obama's brilliance & sincerity that won me over.

Our government (both parties) knows only one thing. Screw the American people!

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Obama's election would not have been possible without MLK's work. I am hopeful that his leadership will inspire us as a nation to continue to carry on his dream of Beloved Community.

First, I think it's huge that the First Family is African American. Second, I was at a fundraiser for a labor group recently where Sean Penn spoke. He said, "Isn't it refreshing that our new president will be quotable on labor issues? Isn't it refreshing that our president will be quotable at all?" I don't expect that Obama will be in line with every value I have, but I know that he will be thoughtful in his decision-making and eloquent in his communication with us and the rest of the world.

Not so much the election, but the idea of my 10-year old grandson being so excited to attend this historic inaugural is pretty wonderful. My oldest son attended his first Inaugural, for President Johnson, when he also was 10.

I feel that Barack Obama wants to make changes that will greatly help more people than any President has in a very long time. I think American health care can be greatly improved, I have cousins who aren't covered, and wish they had the medical care I've got. The wars have to end ASAP. It's giving my dad some pride back in his home country. We moved to Canada when I was 8, parents got death threats for campaigning for Eugene McCarthy, dad no longer felt American after Bobby was killed.

I was arrested in a civil rights demonstration and have tried to keep faith with the "beloved community." The works of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi A.J. Heschel still guide me. I wept when I heard Obama's acceptance speech or young children of color saying they felt they had a chance to succeed in America. I recognize that anyone who breaks a barrier must generally go slowly to ally the anxieties of the most fearful. We activists need to help him with "left" counter-pressure .

Obama's experience as a multi-ethnic person achieving the Presidency is very important to me since I am multi-ethnic as well. Joe Biden is similar to my Catholic family and is a plus for good, hard-nosed ball-busting politics (I hope). Hopefully both will be more willing to listen to the people...

I am proud to be an American again.

This election means the end of a 30 year dark period in US history marked by four failed presidents. (Clinton included remember he threw people off of welfare. I am from a welfare family and I remember what it was like to live so close to the edge) So far, we have earned a ticket to a new beginning. Now we have to make the rest of the story happen. Best to you, Dick and Sharon, for doing what you did

Sorry, no time--at work. Well, ok; basically, I've felt disenfranchised by my country for decades. (Granted, I'm only 30.) But especially with the Bush regime, I was ashamed of my country and disgusted by the majority of my countrymen, who put him in power. It doesn't affect me in daily life, but that sensation of shame subtly pervades everything. It was only when Obama was elected that I felt an unprecedented surge of pride in my fellow countryman. A feeling of hope. A rebirth of respect.

I am hopeful that it will end the embarrassment and the sorrow I have lived with for the past 9 years. GB did one thing for me; got me off my duff and into the exciting world of activism. I helped start the Democratic Women of the Desert five years ago. We now have over 300 members and this January I will become president. I plan to model my presidency after Obama.

I was over-the-top enthusiastic about Obama's election, but now feel sobered in disappointment that Obama chose Rick Warren to give the invocation. To express this mix of reactions on Jan 20 I will put an Obama sign in my yard, with a little flag since I have my country back, but also with a No on Prop 8 sign to insist on equal rights for all.

For the first time in my life, I was involved in a campaign - not just involved, but helped to head up a large LA-based organization to raise money and votes for Obama/Biden. I did this because I believed, also for the first time in my life, that we had a rare opportunity of just the right leader at just the right time, and I could not bear to sit around and let that pass us by. I can't wait to be present for what will surely be one of the most important turning points in US History. :-)

Having a non-white in the office opens possibilities that I've always accepted, but it allow whites to accept their equal. It acknowledges a team that outperformed in a highly competitive campaign, achieving beyond what most felt safe enough to expect and predict. This demonstrates to the world what it already knew, that the universe distributes capabilities and talent without regard to society's artificial construct of race - which privileges some while disadvantaging others.

As I worked my BUTT off for 2 years for their election, as the GWB Administration has been hell for this country, the election has filled me with a sense of joy and relief heretofore not experienced by me in my life. I am OVERJOYED!

It may sound cheesy, but hope. I don't care what the right wingers say. I am finally proud of my country again!

I am excited that these two, most qualified men are guiding our country. They give me hope and inspiration. I believe things will get better, not immediately but eventually. Let's face it they can't get much worse. George Bush was, by far, the worst president we've ever had. He and his cronies, were the most blatant self-serving politicians to take the helm. I am so glad it's over.

I'm 72 and this is one of the greatest events in my lifetime! Historical!!

The end of our Reign of Terror, the beginning of a new era of hope, sanity and government of the people, by the people, for the people, for the first time in 8 long years. Hopefully, the end of conservatism as it has been practiced. I will sleep at night again! a weight has been lifted. Whoopee!!!

It's the first time since JFK that I have felt such affection and devotion to a President. I'm so hopeful that he can get our country back on track, restore our integrity and credibility in the world, and lead us in a better direction than where this country has been going. I knew that I had to go and witness this event for myself.

The last 50 years of civil rights for blacks that now has moved on to women and gays really has made a difference. No matter that there is still a lot of bigotry and hate in our country, this is a true demonstration that change has happened. The icing on the cake is that Obama is not just "a black man" but that he is the right person for the job. I am filled with hope for our country such as I have never experienced in my 65 years!

I marched in the streets to confirm Dr. King's belief that one day our country would judge a person by the content of their character. Having elected Barack Obama [funny name and all] symbolizes how far we have finally come to realizing that original truth. I am so deeply grateful that I lived to see this day! In addition to the historical perspective, I also will be celebrating our return to honor as I believe this admin will work repair the horrible legacy left by the outgoing admin. GO USA

A vision of the world as I see it is finally represented in a younger, hipper President of color. With a family I more readily identify with in age and also an immediate family that I identify with that seems to have a modern perspective (from watching the interviews of Barack and Michelle). And I think that it is important to note that I am a lesbian and not a person of color and I feel that way.

I feel about this election as I suspect my Mom felt about the election of Franklin Roosevelt. I hope and believe it will be the dawn of a new era for each of us and our country.

It's impossible to know, yet, what real transformative action may come from the Obama administration. But given our national history of racial problems, the election of a black president is a transcendent event. While a lot of writing will focus on the import of this event on the black population, I think that it is transcendent as well for whites who believed that they would never, could never, vote for a black candidate. We have a lot to learn about what we can, and will, achieve.

This is such a special time for all of us! As I have already been involved with a new grassroots group, I feel empowered! This is now the time for all of us to reach deep within ourselves and brush off the dust from the compassionate human who simply wants to be a part of something bigger than we could ever be alone! Naysayer everywhere will watch as something beautiful unfolds during the next 4 - 8 years! It is a black and white thing but it won't be any more!

We will record the inauguration on the DVR because we work during the day. I tear up just thinking about what it means to me on so many levels...the return of reason, critical thinking and intelligence to the highest office of the land! A black man in the White House! In my lifetime I've seen segregation, bigotry and finally...this. It is a step in the right direction and I am both ashamed that it has taken so long and proud that we are beginning to evolve...not AA or CA but Americans!