Inauguration Jubilee: Saturday


Wikipedia says,  “A Jubilee is a time of celebration or rejoicing. It is defined in Leviticus 25:9 as Yovel in Hebrew, as the sabbatical year after seven cycles of seven years.

  • Jubilee (Biblical), the Jubilee specified in Leviticus 25:9  that is the original concept behind most of the following Jubilees.
  • Jubilee (Christian), the year of Jubilee is a special year for the remission of sins and universal pardon where debts are forgiven, slaves and prisoners freed, and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. In the Old Testament book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year is to occur every fifty years.”

1.   Holy moley.  Leviticus may be used to turn loving  folk into fire breathing dragons,  but one area of general agreement between scholars  is that the Jubilee  in Leviticus 25  signals a time of introspection,  atonement,  forgiveness and new beginnings.

2.   In Philadelphia, the woman who introduced Barack to the crowd spoke of  unemployment and breast cancer.   “But that’s  behind us now,” she bubbled,  touching  Michelle, Sasha and Malia  again and again —   the dream made flesh.

2.   In Philadelphia and Wilmington, the only people in the crowds  who didn’t beam and smile ear-to-ear  were the babies —  frozen like popsicles in adult arms —  and those amazing Secret  Service  agents with   their  dark shades and flat affects.

3.   According to multiple press accounts,   ten year old Malia Obama told her father, “First African American president….  [Your speech]  better be good.”

4.   Philadelphia:   the 100,000 in the crowd wouldn’t let Barack  begin his speech until the people had sung “Happy Birthday” to Michelle.   The Obamas are being taken into the American heart.  They are our First Family and they seem to care for the whole of us.

5.   People, people, people:  lining the railroad tracks as the inaugural train passes.

6.   If the people in my small town are any measure, there could  be an All-American-Flu-Out Tuesday.  In our stew of  job losses and foreclosures,  an Inauguration may seem  like a Royal Procession but even so, some increasingly  worried  workers in rural New York are still plotting to  skip out  Tuesday so they can watch their President  pledge to protect and defend their Constitution.

7.   In Washington, D.C.,  people are ecstatic that they’ll be made visible by a president who eats lunch in their neighborhoods.  The Right and Amazing Eleanor Holmes Norton is absolutely giddy.

8.   “Giddy”  pops to  mind too often.  I’ve tried to think of other words and phrases to describe the crowds along the railroad tracks  and the people in line behind me at the  store:  “beside themselves,”  “ecstatic,”  “overcome,”  “wistful,”  “childlike,”  “expectant,”  “bubbling,”  “burbling,”  “joyous,”  “exuberant,”  “ebullient…,” but “giddy” is the one I return to time and again.  Seasoned journalists are beside themselves,  overcome by their own stories, this historic  nexus and the celebratory crowds.

If there is a “mob mentality,”  this fervor is its obverse;  this laughing, hopeful feeling  is the humane side of the human animal.

It’s   why record numbers of us  will spend  this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service volunteering  in our communities. (Monday January 19th).   Here’s a familiar-looking  link  for finding  a community organization that needs your help:    http://www.usaservice.org/

Today in the grocery store, I was reminded  that some people in my small town have sworn to fly their flags at half-mast for the next four years.   All I can feel is regret for what they’re missing.

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