Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Emperor's New Clothes



I love the film The Matrix. My favorite moment from the movie (and I have many) is just after Keanu Reeves has been awakened and brought aboard the hovercraft. His character has decided to meet Morpheus because he imagines being rescued from his boring mundane life in order to be introduced to a life of glamourousness. Instead of slick black leather and groovy sunglasses, though, his first sight is of people with greasy hair and tattered clothing. Laurence Fishburne leans in close and says in the kindest voice possible, "Welcome to the real world."

I'm not saying there isn't greatness in the American ideals or that all Americans are wasteful and clueless or that every shred of American greatness has evaporated. If it had, we couldn't have elected Obama. Our new president has helped me reconnect to the strengths of this country, to the solid core of goodness and possibility, making him - in my eyes - already a great president. I had no idea I had become so cynical.

In the wake of that great, empowering truth telling inauguration speech, I'm asking myself: Can we Americans wake up, give up our bloated, stupid, greedy way of life with grace and aplomb? If we can, how great will that be? If not, well, how sad. And how hard it's going to be on all of us. No one knows how it will fall out, not yet. Well, maybe Merle Sneed knows.

The truth is, our former Emperor had no clothes. What a mess he made of America. And there we were the whole time, complicit, sipping our Starbucks, buying too much stuff, wasting energy, time and resources, ignoring the truth, or complaining but doing nothing about it, feeling powerless to do anything about it. At least that's how I felt.

Obama is right - the world has changed and we must change with it. Welcome to the real world. Right now! Or else! What a great speech. What a great day yesterday was. I love our new president.

32 comments:

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Good morning Reyna. What wonderful insight. I love your morning blog@ I, too, hope we can change. Most of all I hope I can redirect myself to get involved in this new community in which I find myself. After all, we can only work on ourselves and maybe bring one or two along with us for the ride. Have a great day!

Reya Mellicker said...

I have a brand new respect for Ken Burns.

willow said...

Well said, Reya. I think we all have a renewed since of patriotism.

Auntie, aka cagny said...

hi,
Was that you I saw on TV yesterday?? LOL
There was a young woman wearing a blue scarf, using a big camera.

Reya Mellicker said...

Lizzy, if we all take care of ourselves and bring alone one or two others, everyone will be cared for.

It's truly the Age of Aquarius!

Reya Mellicker said...

Bring along one or two others.

I'm still fried from the energy yesterday, obviously.

willow said...

Thanks for sharing that Ken Burns clip. I really enjoyed that. Obama truly is the wish for ourselves.

Reya Mellicker said...

YES Willow, yes yes! I'm not a huge fan of Burns's documentary style, but wow, what a guy.

Reya Mellicker said...

By a resounding victory, the citizens of the United States have saged Bush away. Thank God!

Val said...

we were watching yesterday. it was an emotional ceremony and a very inspiring speech. congratulations on your new President - we all feel heis partly ours too :-)
and a big thank you Reya for your daily reports - it certainly made a big difference to see it all through your eyes too. wow there were a lot of people there!!!!

Bee said...

IN TOTAL AGREEMENT.

ArtSparker said...

Well, I guess you know I agree with you on the Matrix thing.

sciencegirl said...

Well said, Reya.
Many of my friends are whipping themselves into a Bush = War Criminal frenzy, and although I think he must answer for certain things, this is going too far. Americans reelected him, Americans were (mostly) complacent about his policies, Americans who did speak out for the most part also continued to lead their comfortable American lives.
I do so want to turn the page. And I do so hope that people will live their ideals, not just dream them. I try, every day. With our new president, I hope to succeed.

tam said...

You said it first, Reya, you did! About the Civil War being over now. And I loved reading it here, on the Gold Puppy, most notable source of wisdom!

Lover of Life said...

My husband and myself were just having this exact discussion. He was pretty clear about it, wasn't he? It is time to change on a micro, as well as, macro level. By the way, loved your pictures, thank you!

tut-tut said...

We must change as a society, although some of us never did fill our own little boat with too much stuff, and yet we still find ourselves at sea . . .

JOY said...

Reya - right on! I especially believe in living life more simply - need vs. want. Humans don't need all this material stuff to BE the best they can be, to be fulfilled. Material things will not last and fill us with what is true and lasting - expressing the good gifts we have inside to embrace humanity!

deborah said...

perfectly articulated
beautifully chronicled
thank you for the welcome
to the real world
i love our new president
i love you

Brigid said...

I hope some of your new president's ideals rub off on our leaders here in South Africa. Our elections are coming up soon and confusion reigns supreme as to who will be our next leader.
I wish Obama all the luck in the world, he has a hard job ahead of him and there is nothing worse than cleaning up after other people.

Purest Green said...

Everyone in my office in Edinburgh has "Obama fever." Your blog has been my favourite space to visit to follow along with the fun. Your photos are so engaging and they tell the story perfectly.

Carolyn said...

Reya, again thank you for sharing. Only we can change and in that change we touch others and maybe they will change.
It is our turn to step up to the plate now. Our Prime Minister has put our country on hold waiting for yesterday...I sure hope he was listening.
Smiles

c james. said...

My coworkers and I all watched the inauguration on a wide-screen TV at work yesterday in a large conference room, filled with every color, creed, and socio-economic background. People weren't separated in the usual packs of separate colors (you know how in a crowd, each shade of color subconsciously sits next to the similar).

The room truly was a multicultural, mixed up spice rack, and we all knew that what we were watching (and experiencing) was something far greater than ourselves, more important that our trite problems...world-healing.

The Family Julz said...

I couldn't agree more. Your post mirrors President Obama's eloquence!

Reya Mellicker said...

c james I agree it was a healing, a soul retrieval. Wow.

Coffee Messiah said...

The horse shadow is great! ; )

Good riddance and nice to see so many happy and hopeful, rather than down and glum and waiting for more shoes to drop ; (

Wolynski said...

I love the photos, but I must respectfully disagree. Spending $150 million on a party when the nation is on the brink of economic collapse just doesn't set the right tone.

As for the speech - it wasn't good. If it's a call to sacrifice, why not sacrifice the inaugural and put the money to better use?

What has Obama and his Wall St donors sacrificed? Set the example, Mr. President and we'll follow.

Sorry to ruin the mood.

Barry said...

Precisely . Very well said.

And I love the shadow of the horse and rider, photo.

You get more out of shadows than another photographer I know.

lakeviewer said...

Reya,
We knew the city was going to be a challenge to navigate; you proved the point beautifully. What a great show!

sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com

mouse (aka kimy) said...

hey, I just criss-crossed that park with the man on the horse pointing the way about 8 times on monday and tuesday!!!

monday afternoon we encountered a huge group of humans with their dogs, I had hoped to have run into you and jake.... but alas no...

Ronda Laveen said...

Positivity is positively infectious...let's spark an epidemic...maybe a pandemic!

Reya Mellicker said...

Wolynsky - Don't worry! You didn't ruin my mood, my belief that the money spent on the inauguration was appropriate, or my enthusiasm for our new president.

Mouse - EVERY park in DC has a statue with a man on a horse at its center. Were you around Stanton Park? That's where I took the picture.

Amy said...

Reya,

Love, love, love alternative healing! I just moved from Texas to Arizona and am not even sure where to start looking, but I'm being told that this surgery is necessary because the metal in it is eroding my muscle. *sigh*

The Lincoln bio is With Malice Towards None by Stephen Oates. I'm learning a lot...basically that people and politics don't seen to change much. With the election of President Obama, I feel change in the air. It's absolutely electric.

Thanks for the comment and some good reading material!