Friday, January 22, 2021

It Was Still There

I know a lot of people cried on Wednesday. I was teary-eyed pretty much from the time the band tuned up until the ceremony wound down on Inauguration Day, but when Lady Gaga sang the national anthem and hit "our flag was still there," a great torrent of tears spilled down my face. 

It was, honestly, the best rendition of the hard-to-perform song I've ever heard, delivered with just the right nuances. 

I noted the moment on Facebook because I guess I felt the unexpected relief so many have spoken of. It was a rush, a knee-weakening feeling, an exhale. Everyone's called it an exhale too, so nothing profound there, but it fits.

Sometimes I fail to note to myself how stress is affecting me, a remnant of "be a man" admonitions from my old man, I guess. He was stoic in the face of pain and adversity. I inherited some of that, though it's tempered by my mother's emotional traits. 

But those words and the way Lady Gaga delivered them and really the whole song began to unwind the coil of tension that had wound tighter and tighter as the events of Jan. 6 unfolded.

We've never seen the flag or the capitol threatened in that way, and though they're symbols, they're powerful symbols and they matter. The flag's been co-opted in many cases, but it is our flag, not just the flag of those shrillest "patriots" who cloak themselves in it. 

It is our flag, and it was threatened. They tried to replace it with Trump flags. 

They tried to replace it with Trump flags.

They tried to replace it with Trump flags.

Trump flags.

But they failed, and the assault on democracy abetted by the worst of our leaders, the most cynical, leading blind followers, failed. 

They failed, and amid all the tumult and the horror and the death, we got an inauguration and a reminder of who we are. When Vice President Dan Quayle walked in I cried too. First of the high office holders, a member of the opposing party, representative of an administration with a leader who's passed on. President and Mrs. George W. Bush followed then the other ex-presidents. It was an important show of who we are, a democracy with procedures and symbolic gestures, the true patriot's dream.

And she nailed it all in that lyric. All had been threatened, all that we took for granted for so long, all that had been routine, pedestrian, everything was revealed to be so fragile. 

But it was still there, still in place, ragged around the edges, perhaps, strained, still imperiled, but still there. 

And maybe for a little longer. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...