Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"I vote for black guy!" - Obamanation II

Barack Hussein Obama, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks, Inauguration, James Taylor, John Melencamp, Pete Seeger, Phatmanvisa, Presidential Disaster Area, Sheryl Crow, U2, Will.I.AmMy inauguration day began with a visit from my friend Phat who goes by the nickname Phatman in relation to his business of handling Visas and renewals for foreigners living in Vietnam. Should any of you need visa work done here in country please don't hesitate to contact him at He's efficient, competitive and a super nice guy - So anyway, my phone rings and it's Phat. He's completed my Visa renewal just before the big Tet holiday and wants to deliver it to me at my house. I agree to meet him downstairs at the street coffee lady's stall and get the day off to a positive with a brand new visa and a cafe sua da. Phat pulls up on his motorbike and what is he wearing but a colourful Obama t-shirt, made in the USA, in the same graphic theme as many of the posters you see. I ask him if he got the shirt in Vietnam and he says, "no", a friend brought it to him from the States. But along with his shirt he has also printed out a sign that sits on the face of his bike, right below the handle bars that says, "Obama, I vote for black guy!" I laugh. This is funny, that even in Vietnam Obama's election still brings a smile, and holds hope for all sorts of people. My post "Lunch With Obama" was my first brush with this Presidential fame and it gives me hope as well. I finish my coffee with Phat and go back to my house to get a start on the near round-the-clock coverage of the event starting with the concert on the mall in DC on Monday. Maybe, because a lot of the music came from my generation, I loved hearing James Taylor and even John Melencamp, of whom I would not ordinarily be a fan, but his "Little Pink Houses" worked well for the venue and he performed it with a vigor and energy I would have not expected. Will.I.Am, Sheryll Crow and Herbie Hancock worked surprisingly well together but I reserve quite a bit less adoration for Garth Brooks doing "American Pie" and U2, who just seemed out of place and way over indulgent for the moment. But the real crowning glory I thought, was Pete Seeger singing "This Land Is Your Land", flanked by Bruce Springsteen and a host of other stars including Beyonce, who was positively regal, enjoying in his lifetime the recognition of being one of the 20th century's great American songwriters (I keep Prince and Todd Rundgren on that list as well, but that's another story). In the end I know it was all staged - manufactured to go directly to my heartstrings and pluck them with wreckless, propagandized, abandon - but it worked for me. Cathartic, if you will - and gave me just the sort of feeling I needed to not only get on with my day, but my New Year in the hope that the dark shadows of the Bush administraion will fade and America will begin to chart a course of being a responsible world partner in a newer world order, far from the monochromatic visions of the first President Bush. Happy New Year everyone. "I vote for black guy!"

For more on Obama, click below:

Obama to Send 30,000 Troops to Tiger Woods House

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