A People’s History of Obama’s Inauguration and MLK Day

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This morning, while taking the kids to school, I regaled them with tales of how they, too, could someday be president, since Obama was “taking the Oval Office” today. (“Oath of Office” got no traction with them.)

My 5-year-old daughter started to cry. “I don’t wanna be president!”

Why?

“Cuz then I’d have to wear boy clothes. I’ll look ugly! WAAAAAA!”

Yeah, feminism has outlived its usefulness.

My 7-year-old was crying because, during the morning shakedown, I busted him trying to smuggle a whole buncha Bionicles in his book bag. This has gotten him in much trouble before. (Why shouldn’t he play with them during lectures since they’re right there?)

Me: “Honey. This isn’t a new rule. Mommy couldn’t take toys to school when I was little either.”

7-year-old: “But black people couldn’t have toys back then. WAAAAAA!”

Later, I watched the inauguration ceremony with a friend. We spent quite a bit of time discussing Aretha Franklin’s…..hat? Infected contusion? (My mom just called to offer that Aretha knew she wouldn’t be taking that hat off without a hairdresser nearby, lest her wig come off with it. MEOW!) We sat trading bitchy quips (all at Bush and Cheney’s expense). When the poet came on, as one, we rose, looked at each other and asked, “Cigarette?”

Out on the porch, I could see most of my neighbors heading for their cars. Chagrined, each admitted that the poet was their signal to finally get to work.

OK, here’s my best quip from the ceremony. When Michelle Obama kissed W goodbye at the helicopter, my friend said, “Bet that’s the first black woman he’s ever kissed.”

What else could I say?

“Probably. But not the first one he’s ever fucked.”

Happy inauguration!

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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