Sunday, January 24, 2021

On Bright Coats and Mittens

I am not a coat person, but I am enamored by the colorful coats worn at the Inauguration. All bright and solidly colored and did these women coordinate with each other? But there's no time to keep wondering about that because Lady Gaga is singing the National Anthem,

and I have to wonder about her enormous bird pin. Is she going for a Hunger Games vibe? But that thought goes away too because her voice is rising. She's reaching the part that only a few people can sing, about the rockets red glare and how the flag was still there. She pauses to raise her arm and there's the flag flying over the Capitol, where only two weeks before there was smoke and darkness and a mob of people trying to overthrow our government. But this day

it's all cleaned up and sparkling. Bernie Sanders is slouched down in his coat and wearing mittens and looking comically grumpy. Jennifer Lopez is singing This Land is Your Land and I am watching with my daughter and we are both teary. The first woman Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris is sworn in by the first Hispanic American Supreme Court Justice, Sonya Sotomayor, and I am teary again. The camera zooms in Mitch McConnell looking grimly over her shoulder and you can feel the weight of the moment, the old world passing,

and now for something new. A baby is fussing and a harried mom rushes to comfort him. One of the grandchildren of President Biden. 

He gives his speech and who knew how honesty could seem so radical?  

Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, and demonization have long torn us apart...

Through the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice, and setbacks, our “better angels” have always prevailed.

In each of these moments, enough of us--enough of us-- came together to carry all of us forward.

And, we can do so now.

I have to leave for work, but first I catch the poet Amanda Gorman reciting her poem. She is only twenty two and standing resplendent in her bright yellow coat. Her hands move in a way that makes me think of birds. I can't tear my eyes away. 

If she is the future of our country, I feel better already. 

The afternoon at the library is a day like any other during our global pandemic. The masked patrons stepping up to the window to collect their ordered materials. The people out in the park, running, walking their dogs, or at home, turning Bernie in his coat and mittens into silly memes, sharing videos of their little girls watching Kamala Harris, dissecting the significance of the colorful coats, the Hunger Games pin. 

How is that we live in such a broken silly beautiful world?


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