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January 16, 2009


Dear Beth. I am very interested in the new president, especially after eight long years of George Bush. I'm not totally happy about Obama, certainly I have doubts about his Middle Eastern policies but we shall see. Mostly I am very interested in the reactions of those around you as you witness this historic event and, in particular, those of the die-hard fundamentalists and racists who will, I'm sure, make their presence felt. I wonder how they feel about the election of a man whose roots are in Africa and whose father is a muslim?

I'm really looking forward to your front line reports, Beth. Screw The Guardian - I'm checking in here!

We will be watching TV together on Tuesday noon: American-Canadians Donna, Kay & Vivian; home-grown Canadians Liz & Jane. I guess you will be seeing the event too, on the large screen. So trusting you to tell us what is NOT on the large screen, the 'backstory' in whatever way it shows itself to you. And your own feelings, as someone who has just moved away from the USA and now is being pulled by events to the heart of the inauguration.

As myself an American who moved to Canada in the early 70s, I remember telling a cab driver (Greek? Middle Eastern?) back then that we had decided to leave the US and move to Canada and he looked at me scornfully and said, "what kind of person are you, to decide you don't like your own country?"

This ties in to a longer discussion of the different ways nationalism can frame itself (civic and tribal). It is sure to stir up many feelings. Yet mixed with them is the idea that we are one world family, that we are one tribe too. So I am looking to see how these possibilities play out on the ground, there, in your sight and hearing...

I would be interested in people like you; what are the motivations for attending an inauguration ceremony in person? I know I'm not an adventurous soul, but I would far rather watch from my sofa wrapped in a warm blanket than suffer the cold for what would surely be a view of the back of some tall man's head.

My daughter asked to attend with a group from the University of Oklahoma, and as much as she wanted to go, since she's still in high school we told her she had to stay home. The people who are going turned out to be all college kids and some poli sci professors that decided to charter a bus. I am almost sorry she's not a year older. I think at that age it would have been a grand adventure.

Beth my friend Kay Goodall is flying all the way from Scotland with her boyfriend to be there for the inaugration ! We Europeans are so excited to see Obama replace Bush So say hello from me if you see her !

Some of the pubs in my neighbourhood (suburb of London, UK) were holding Obama Inauguration Parties this weekend. Never seen such a thing :-)

oh and a friend in Galway Ireland organised a do in her local pub for everyone to come together and celebrate ! I must email her and find out how it turned out !

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.