jeudi 22 janvier 2009

Oh Happy Day, Oh Happy New Year

L’année 2009 a enfin commencé le 20 janvier ! (2009 finally began on January 20)

For some reason, I just did not feel as if 2009 had begun. On January 20th, as I watched George W. Bush board that plane bound for Texas, one-way ticket in hand (at least as I imagined it), I suddenly realized that I was waiting for this moment to usher in the new year. I suspect I am not the only one. I found the photo above on Le Monde's website and decided that this was the image I was waiting for to create my electronic New Year's card. I had nearly decided not to send cards this year. I just wasn't into it. But now that 2009 has finally arrived, it seems appropriate and even necessary to mark the occasion. At least once in my lifetime, I will have taken part in the making of history. And that feels wonderful!

As is often the case, Maureen Dowd, who was there, wrote wonderfully about the moment the Boy King, as she called him, whirled out of our line of sight (see her op piece for this week in the NY Times):

It was the Instant the Earth Stood Still.

Not since Klaatu landed in a flying saucer on the Ellipse has Washington been so mesmerized by an object whirring through the sky.

But this one was departing, not arriving.

As W. ceased to be president, he flew off over the Capitol and across the Mall en route to Andrews Air Force Base, and then back to Texas.

I’ve seen many presidents come and go, but I’ve never watched a tableau like the one Tuesday, when four million eyes turned heavenward, following the helicopter’s path out of town. Everyone, it seemed, was waving goodbye, with one or two hands, a wave that moved westward down the Mall toward the Lincoln Memorial, and keeping their eyes fixed unwaveringly on that green bird.

They wanted to make absolutely, positively certain that W. was gone. It was like a physical burden being lifted, like a sigh went up of “Thank God. Has Cheney’s wheelchair left the building, too?”