Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Instant the Earth Stood Still

"Not since Klaatu landed in a flying saucer on the Ellipse has Washington been so mesmerized by an object whirring through the sky.

But this one was departing, not arriving.

As W. ceased to be president, he flew off over the Capitol and across the Mall en route to Andrews Air Force Base, and then back to Texas.


I’ve seen many presidents come and go, but I’ve never watched a tableau like the one Tuesday, when four million eyes turned heavenward, following the helicopter’s path out of town. Everyone, it seemed, was waving goodbye, with one or two hands, a wave that moved westward down the Mall toward the Lincoln Memorial, and keeping their eyes fixed unwaveringly on that green bird.

They wanted to make absolutely, positively certain that W. was gone. It was like a physical burden being lifted, like a sigh went up of “Thank God. Has Cheney’s wheelchair left the building, too?”

8 comments:

Brian in Mpls said...

I wonder if he felt like ass when Obama was giving his speech...

Thomas said...

It's funny you mention that. Later in the article I excerpted, it says the following:

"After thanking President Bush “for his service to our nation,” Mr. Obama executed a high-level version of Stephen Colbert’s share-the-stage smackdown of W. at the White House correspondents’ dinner in 2006.

With W. looking on, and probably gradually realizing with irritation, as he did with Colbert, who Mr. Obama’s target was — (Is he talking about me? Is 44 saying I messed everything up?) — the newly minted president let him have it:

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals,” he said to wild applause, adding: “Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.” He said America is choosing hope over fear, unity over discord, setting aside “false promises” and “childish things.”

Rocketstar said...

You forgot to mention the amount of Middle Fingers. ;o)

Sarah said...

awww, rocket beat me to the finger comment. boo!

Stephanie said...

And G-Dub is back in Texas. :(

Maybe Cheney will take him hunting sometime soon.

I'm evil, this I know. ;)

Melvin Udall said...

The new era of openness starts here? We shall see... but I feel the question more people want answered is; what the hell did Aretha Franklin have on her head?

disestablishingpuritanism said...

Thomas,

I like what I see from Obama already. Two things stood out on Bush's last day: 1.) He received an extremely lukewarm applause when Obama thanked Bush for his gratitude during the transition. 2.) If I'm not mistaken, he was heckled before departing.

Obama is doing the exact opposite of Bush so far and thank God. He's signed an executive order for lobbying restrictions and closing Gitmo. Most importantly, he's wanting as much transparency from government and our participation for what's going on as possible. This is a great start. Let's keep it up.

Thomas said...

Rocket & Sarah, I'm sure that's what I would've done.

Stephanie, I appreciate the sentiments, but thankfully (hopefully?), he can't do any large-scale damage while ensconced in the Lone Star State.

Melvin, good one. Perhaps even more amusing is the fact that her first name rhymes with a below-the-waist body part.

PJ, there was definitely heckling. On two occasions, portions of the crowd could be heard singing, "Na-na-na-na Na-na-na-na Hey-hey-hey Goodbye". While this was happening, I switched to Fox to see if they had picked this up. Not surprisingly, their audio connection to the crowd was shut off. So poetic. Once again, FoxNoise wasn't listening to the people.

The steps Obama is taking is great news for all Americans. They more accurately reflect who we wish to be (and have always thought we were) as a nation. My favorite author says that all highly evolved societies have an incredible amount of transparency in their governments. We elect them, so we should always know what they're up to. On days like these, how someone could've voted for McCain blows my mind. Talk about being on the wrong side of history.