A few days I ago I posted a blog questioning the hype surrounding Obama. I'm Canadian and we tend to be a bit more cautious with our praise. Plus, we're not used to politician rock stars. Although some of my politically minded friends would kill me for saying this, Canadian politics are deathly boring.
Then I watched the inauguration and everything changed. I was amazed at first. Amazed at the crowds and the excitement and the sheer energy of millions of people gathering together in jubilation. It was heartening and inspiring and hopeful.
But. Then. Suddenly, so suddenly, the feeling changed. It was slow and sneaky and started with a kind of sinking feeling in my heart. Before I knew it, it was taking over and spreading through my limbs and out of my mouth. It was the green-eyed monster at its worst. It was sheer, unadulterated, gargantuan envy radiating out and filling the room.
Yes, America. I'll admit it. For the first time in a very long time, I find myself envious of the United States and I'm not too proud to say it: I'm insanely jealous.
Jealous that a political rally could gather millions and millions of people like this.
Jealous that you get a parade and ten galas to welcome a new president.
Jealous of legendary stars like Aretha Franklin claiming the United States as her home.
Jealous of the magnificent ritual surrounding the inauguration. Jealous that America has found new hope. Jealous that Americans get to re-make themselves. Jealous that you have a fresh hero to look up to. Jealous of Michelle Obama's beautiful golden robes and all that her look implied. Royalty. Dignity. Intelligence. Leadership. Warmth. I am jealous of it all.
Most of all, I am jealous of Obama's cool, calm assurance. Jealous of his ability to lift the country, the nation, and the world with his oration. Jealous of the kind of citizenship he is inspiring in his people. Jealous of his ability to make working hard, service, and community seem fun, inspiring, and most importantly, the duty of all humanity. Jealous that Obama is not our leader here in the cold, white north.
Obama is a modern day Tom Sawyer. He makes painting the fence look so fun and so enjoyable, everyone wants to grab a brush and join in. Even though things are grim in America right now, I think you've all hit the jackpot. You have a leader who brings out the best in you, instead of the worst. When you make it through this mess, you will be a better nation. So, to my neighbors south of the border, I say, you are one lucky country. Enjoy it and Congratulations.