Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Blah

I'm not terrifically excited for Obama's inauguration. I'm excited for his presidency, to be sure, for all the reasons we all are. I have no doubt that the upcoming years will lead the nation toward a greater truth and existence than we've been able to see since 2000.

But I'm one of the factors that led to his election. Not me personally, but that looming 7.2% unemployment figure. The day I got laid off, I went out with my colleagues (our entire staff was cut by the company) and got hammered. I remember sitting on a curb with my oldest, dearest work friend, hopelessly inebriated, smoking cigarettes (neither of us smoke normally, under employed conditions) and shouting to passersby, "WE'RE A STATISTIC! VOTE OBAMA!"

Our plight, and the plight of hundreds of thousands of others--and the wars and the restriction of choice and the Patriot Act and the blunders and the squandering of goodwill and the lack of tolerance and the and the and the--led to exactly that. We, as a nation, made the right choice. I'm proud of us. I look forward to being proud of our leader.

None of this helps me feel excited for the day we've all been looking forward to, though. I will be sitting at home, typing with a vague sense of futility; I will be organizing my apartment; I will be cooking; I will be exercising. It will be just another day one has when one is unemployed. I've been lucky enough to find enough work to get by just fine--but my sense of professional purpose has been dashed. When the thing getting you up in the morning is only inward, it's hard to feel a connection to the larger world and current events. Socioeconomic groups on the poorer end of the scale are sometimes criticized for not doing enough for themselves (thus leading to a backlash criticism when the loudest voices heard are those of white middle-class well-educated citizens). I've never been one of those critics, but I'm more likely now to vociferously defend the appearance of inaction of those groups: When your free time is a mandate, not a luxury, you use it both more carelessly and less so. My instinct is to use this time for myself, to better my condition--in the short term. Write a pitch, network, get a job. My instinct is not to go to a champagne brunch and celebration like the rest of New York.

I've got plenty to celebrate, yes. I'll just do it when I have a job.

No comments:

Post a Comment