Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Am writing this barely a few minutes before midnight. The television set is open and am idly monitoring the goings on in Washington, D.C. I've been surfing through the various channels broadcasting the inauguration, not that it really makes a lot of difference - they're all broadcasting the same footage, obviously from the same source.
Quick observation: GMA7 has a full crew at Washington led by Jessica Soho to cover the event but strangely, the station has not interrupted their regular programming to give way to the Obama inaugural. On the other hand, all three ABS-CBN channels - Channel 2, Studio 23, and ANC - has been broadcasting the preparations for the inaugural non-stop since 11.00 PM.
I've been flipping the remote between two channels - CNN and ABS-CBN. My biased verdict: The annotation being done by ABS-CBN is much more insightful and dramatic than that of CNN. That's because they have Manolo Quezon on board providing very interesting historical trivia. Of course, kasi nga pinoy, their annotation comes across as more helpful. For instance, they take the effort to identify distinguished personalities caught by the television cameras ("that's Martin Luther King III.")
Ces Drilon is annoying, though - she's been rambling on and on about really nonsensical observations ("Martin Luther King III is son of Martin Luther King, a famous American civil rights activist, etc...") which the other commentators try valiantly to make sense of - they end up by finishing her sentences.
The CNN commentators have been going on and on about the size of the crowd that turned out for the inaugural- 2 million or thereabouts, by their reckoning. It's a good number, but doesn't really impress me. The number of Filipinos that converged at Luneta for Pope John Paul II was clocked at 4 million. But I do not dispute the historical value of the Obama inaugural.
Although pomp and pageantry is evident throughout the inaugural, one can't help but notice that people are not dressed too formally.
Loudest applause was given to Barack Obama of course, along with chanting O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma! Hearty applause for former President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary (incoming Secretary of State) as well.
Senator Dianne Feinstein delivered the opening remarks and served as Master of Ceremonies, Rick Warren author of Purpose-Driven Life delivered a rather lonnngggng invocation that covered practically everything from politics, to family life, to human rights, etc, and which finally ended with the Lord's Prayer, Aretha Franklin wearing a hat that had a huge bow as accent sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" in a way that would have been described by Simon Cowell as "pitchy."
At 12:48 am, Philippine time, Joe Biden, squinting hard against the noonday sun, was sworn in as Vice President of the United States of America. Interesting, very interesting act: He kissed his kids on the mouth after he was sworn in - including his grownup sons.
Yet another interesting innovation: Classical music being played in an inaugural. Musical performance by John Williams, Itzhak Pearlman, Yo-yo Ma, Anthony McGill, et al.
Amidst wild cheering Chief Justice John Roberts administered oath of office to Barack Obama. The 44th President of the USA faltered twice.
Obama delivered his inaugural address: Humbled, mindful, thankful.
He acknowledged the work of his predecessor. Acknowledged crisis, inventoried social problems - from housing, to drug use. Promised America: The challenges will be met. Promised new politics and reaffirmed the greatness of America, appealed for hard work and unity.
Delivered a variation of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Luther King's "I Have A Dream." Tried to be inclusive,
Promised moral regeneration. Repudiated war. Delivered warning to terrorists. Said he will usher in new era of peace. Reasserted America's role as leader of the world.
I stopped blogging and listened to the rest of the speech. I'm not really an Obama fan, but I have to hand it to the guy... he makes damn great speeches!
Inaugural ended with poetry "Praise Song for the Day" written and recited by Elizabeth Alexander and with benediction by Joseph Lowry.