January 21, 2009

I’m almost thirty. I’ve lived in New York for ten years. Sarcasm is my first reaction and response. I’m far too jaded to be heading down on a bus to DC on a whim to see the new president sworn into office. I’m far too cynical to stand in below freezing weather, braving unfarhomable crowds of people just to be part of the crowd listening to a speech that, in all honesty, will sound better on But that’s where I found myself this past weekend.

Standing in the national mall near the World War II museum, we were far away from the Capitol; we watched the ceremony via a jumbotron. However, I felt connected by the continuity of an endless crowd, proudly wearing overpriced bedazzled Obama hoodies and waving cheap polyester flags, despite the brutal cold. Barack Obama gave a speech about personal responsibility and the values he sees in our country, and I felt embarassed that I was moved by a political speech; my first reaction is to scoff when confronted with idealism. It was so foreign to hear an honest evaluation of our country that as in line with my own values. I had never felt a political speech resonate with my own beliefs like that in my lifetime. I had forgotten what it felt like to be ambitious, idealistic, and proud of my country. And so it is now that despite my age and experience and deep-rooted cynicism, on this bus back to New York after a long, cold, crowded weekend, I find myself hopeful again.

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Written by Will who lives and works in New York. You should follow him on Twitter.