Photo Credit: Benjamin Stangland
2013 started out with a bang—the start of awards season and an inauguration. Everyone always pays attention to the pomp and circumstance that surrounds these events. Flashing cameras, gorgeous gowns, overzealous reporters are all staples of a nationally televised event. But then I turn to the speeches.
It is in speeches that events are made and (should be) measured. No one remembers them afterward, but they move mountains and mobilize masses with the right delivery, timing, and empathy.
For the Golden Globes, everyone was talking about Jodie Foster’s speech. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were absolute hits. And let’s face it, who didn’t laugh about Taylor Swift and Michael J. Fox’s son if you were in the know? I always enjoy speeches that recognize family and spouses with heartfelt thanks. Yes, it is the stars we see every day, but when the cameras stop rolling, who steps in to soothe them after a hard day or patiently listens to paparazzi woes? It’s the spouses and the family that have to deal with the aftershocks, so I am always pleased when they get their due.
I skimmed most of the inauguration coverage, but I did enjoy seeing Myrlie Evers-Williams, Medger Evers’ widow. Medger Evers was the first lynching victim I learned about when my parents took me to a black history museum and the horrific crime committed against him stuck with me more than many others.
The president had his speech on unity and coming together. Of course, people will probably remember how Beyonce ripped out her earpiece and raised her hands at the end of the National Anthem (she did well but I really enjoyed Kelly Clarkson and her happy demeanor), the president’s slip up on the word “state,” how Beyonce kissed the President and First Lady but not the Vice President, how the inaugural dinner was 3,000 calories, how the First Lady strutted in her stilettos, how Sasha yawned and took a picture of her parents kissing but Malia photo bombed it, how classy Dr. Jill Biden always looks, how the camera panned to congressmen shamelessly making Jay Z and Beyonce give them autographs, and lots of other things that don’t really matter at all.
It was poignant for so many reasons, but especially because of Martin Luther King Day, which featured a lovely Google graphic as always. My mother had her own rendition of the “I Have a Dream Speech,” but as I watched the inauguration coverage, I couldn’t help but being slightly awed and like Dr. King would have smiled.
History was made twice, the White House staff and everyone who put the ceremony together need to be thanked profusely, and the First Family and the Biden family just looked amazingly classy. And for a split second, I also had a dream that the momentum for this moment carries on and that America truly can be the place in the President’s speech and come together for the good of all created equal.