I just came back from the Inaugural festivities invigorated. Some quick thoughts.
Mobile phones/cameras were everywhere.
I went with a friend who is probably the only person left alive that does not have a Facebook account. When I asked if he could send me some of his photos later, he replied “Yeah, I’ll send you a Dropbox link”. And on the bus to and from DC, the passengers in front of me were scrolling through… Flipboard. Very Thomas Friedman-esque (ugh), I know, but excited about companies that are making a dent outside of our tech bubble. Oh, “Great shot- see it on Instagram!” was used too many times.
Most important - I was taken aback at the energy and enthusiasm surrounding Barack Obama’s second inauguration, especially from the African-American community. Unfortunately, I’m not used to being around a lot of black people, and my exposure to the community has basically been guys I play ball with, a few friends from college, and random passerbys on the street. This weekend, I saw so many African-American faces: there were families and dads and moms and cute little kids and grandmas and elegant ladies in fur coats and mustachioed men dressed to the nines. Walking among the crowds, everyone was super polite — humor was a universal solution to the congestion and long lines — kind, warm and engaging. It felt like going to church with a few hundred thousand of your super cool aunts and uncles. It felt like being dropped into the middle of picnic that you kind of knew was going on but didn’t really ever participated in.
I think this was a side of African-American community that should be more visible in our culture, where history and families and pride and dialogue all mixed together in warm embrace.
I’m really glad I went. More photos to come!