Cathy Hamilton: Obamas make for must-see TV


You'd have to be a real Debbie Downer - or Rush Limbaugh - not to feel a sense of optimism amidst the events of last Tuesday.

I was among the millions of beaming-through-tears, hopeful Americans stricken with Obama Fever as Inauguration Day unfolded.

Glued to the TV, remote clutched in my hot little hand, I channel-surfed relentlessly for the most complete team coverage, the best camera angles and the juiciest, insider information my digital cable box could find.

I was encouraged and inspired by the smooth and orderly transfer of power in this incredible country of ours. I'm not talking about the countless briefings and confabs going on for weeks between the outgoing and incoming administrations, although I'm sure they were impressive, too. I'm referring to the furious and methodical packing and moving going on behind the scene.

Think about it.

While the 44th first family was out getting themselves inaugurated and taking a joyride in "The Beast" (the new heavily armored presidential limo), White House elves scrambled to move the Bushes and their possessions out, and the Obamas' stuff in ... in just SIX hours! Barack, Michelle, the kids and grandma didn't come home to rooms cluttered with stacked boxes, either. By the time they returned from the parade, their furniture and personal effects were in place, pictures were on the wall, clothes were hanging in the closet, jammies and slippers were set out on their new beds.

OK. I know being president and first lady is stressful and all - what with the total loss of personal privacy and independence, not to mention those annoying national crises - but that's one heckuva perk, don't you think? I've moved more than 10 times in my lifetime - last one was in 1989 - and I STILL have boxes left to unpack!

I was uplifted, too, by the fashions. Michelle's cheery lemongrass ensemble and the girls' vivid J. Crew coats gave me a much-needed mid-winter boost, as if to say, "Cheer up, everybody, it's going to get better ..."

(I even liked Aretha Franklin's hat with that honking, bedazzled bow. It was as if she seemed to say, "Get a load of my honking, bedazzled bow!")

And how promising it was to see all the dignitaries and statesmen from both sides of the aisle filing down the steps to take their seats at the swearing-in. They looked upbeat, excited and, most importantly, nobody fell down. (Seriously, I was on pins and needles. Those guys are no spring chickens, you know.)

But the most impressive sight of all was the sea of humanity - almost 2 million, at last estimate - gathered on the National Mall to witness the first African-American president taking the oath. It was a testament to change, a statement of unity. It was the embodiment of optimism.

As our 44th president strode through the doors of the Capitol onto the platform and looked out on the throng, he looked dashing and confident yet clearly humbled. I watched him stand next to his bright and beautiful wife, his hand on Lincoln's Bible, and I thought to myself, "This is it. It IS Camelot all over again." It seemed like the perfect moment.

Then, Chief Justice John Roberts fumbled the oath.

It wasn't a huge deal, of course. There were a few awkward "You go/No, you go" moments, and soon the oath was history and the ceremony concluded with a memorable prayer by 87-year-old civil rights icon, Rev. Joseph Lowery who, comically, could barely clear the podium with his bushy eyebrows.

As I watched, laughed and wondered how a smart guy such as Roberts could flub up such an important moment (surely it wasn't the billions of people watching around the planet), I remembered that no one is perfect and that Camelot exists only in legend.

Our new president carries a ponderous weight on his shoulders - an unprecedented load of problems with impossibly high hopes and expectations from the world piled on.

He isn't perfect. He will falter and, sometimes, fail. Mrs. Obama, the girls and grandma will have their missteps, too, and not just by fashionistas' standards.

The 44th presidency likely will not be as smooth and orderly as the six-hour transfer of presidential furniture, pictures, jammies and slippers. But the optimism I experienced last Tuesday remains with me today. And to all you Debbie Downers out there, I say, "Cheer up, and give change a chance."

Cathy Hamilton is a 53-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author, who blogs every day at


cantstandtexans 8 years, 3 months ago

Well Cathy Hamilton...I must add that it is also such a releif that after eigth years of having the V.P. as the person actually calling the shots...we again have a president that is not only intelligent (AND THAT'S AN UNDERSTATEMENT!!!), Obama is in charge!!!

I dunno of far this depression...and people can call it what they want....we are in a depression...and "IF" anything can be done to stop the slide!! I was in Vail today. Believe this or not...merchants are saying that sells are WAAAAAAYYY down as is the amount of people either shopping or sking. In other words....the depression has hit Vail and Avon as well!! And Aspen as well!! What does that spell out?!

Everything you commented on is absolutely correct. And yup!! I did indeed vote for Obama myelf! This country was hyjacked by a bunch of criminals that were blinded by an ideology of greed and world domination. With the doctrine of "THE PROJECT OF THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY"...and trickle down economics...we are all staring down a double barreled shotgun of complete social collapse.

Indeed...most people are hoping that what the Obama Administration is trying to do will work. Next...if the stimulous efforts to pass and enact laws that not only stops the exportation of jobs from's time to bring the jobs back home where the jobs need to be and never shold have left in the first place!! GREED! Pure and simple's got to stop!!

I do laugh however when I use to hear the past administration and the ones before Clinton...about corporations self policing themselves. Yeah...we seen what happens when huge companies self police themselves!!! That's why we are at where we are today!! Everybody...that includes me as well....everyone needs to walk the line for the beneift of all!!!


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