Politically Geek – The Morning After

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“One point five Million”, “A sea of humanity”, “Love Fest”.  These are terms used to describe the turnout for the Inauguration of President Obama.  No one can deny the historic significance of this day.  150 years from now the denizens of this planet will read about this day and this presidency in the same way we read about Abraham Lincoln’s.   “Historic.”  We were all there to watch it either in the “sea of humanity”, a body so large it could be rendered in a satellite photo from space to the megapeeps watching it on TV.

*megapeep, gigapeep, kilopeep, tetrapeep and petrapeep and their derivatives are Copyright © 2009 Omnigeek Enterprises. All Rights Reserved. Patent Pending.

NOTE:  I sure hope I never have to use the term “petrapeep”. Thats a Million Billion People.  At 5 gigapeep’s the planet is well strained.  Thats a 5 billion peeps for the non-metric people.  You know you are…..

While listening to CNN, they described yesterday’s Inauguration as an “Obama Love Fest” after it was reported that given 1.5 megapeeps there was not a single arrest in the crowd.  Not one. Zilch, Zip, Zero.  That is freaking mind blowing.  That somehow not a single fight broke out among people packed like sardines.

Perhaps it was too early for anger. Perhaps people were too cold and they were huddled together like emperor penguins trying to stay warm in the blistering Antarctica winters.

But any way you cut it, that may be the most amazing story from the day.  Forget about Chief Justice Robert’s messing up the oath.  Forget about Katie Couric of CBS News claiming that John Biden was president for four minutes since the oath was administered late in a obvious lack of research. CNN was prepared for that instant, complete with graphics.

But what really amazed me wasn’t that the cell phone networks in DC collapsed under stress of people beaming their cell phone pix to twitpic or bumbling media heads, oh the cool technology (yea, I’m calling something from Microsoft “cool”) that CNN employed like Photosynth, or their Facebook feed or their specially ordered satellite photo.

No, what amazed me was the President’s first speech.  Of course there are dissenters.  I was originally going to challenge some of the dissenting articles, ones with titles like “Obama’s worst speech”.  But each of us is entitled to our opinion and I would be a hypocrite if I tried to deny someone their opinion.  So I’m going to instead talk about where the speech touched me.

One article said that the speech was not motivating.  For me it was.  Perhaps it wasn’t the 100% rhetoric seen in the President’s speech in the movie “Independence Day”, but the call to action and service touched home.

Service isn’t necessarily joining the peace corps or working a soup kitchen, it could be just lending a helping hand or random acts of kindness.  I’ve noticed that I’ve done things in the 24 hours since the speech that I may not have done before.  For instance I offered my ice scraper/snow brush to a total stranger who using a book to clear the snow from his car.  Today I helped the pilot and wheel chair attendant help someone up the jetway this morning without thinking about it.

The call to service, while only part of the speech is the kind of thing we need to hear.  We should not look at it as rhetoric but as a real truthful need. Its when we help each other that we can start moving forward again.  We as a people can no longer be the “Its all about me generation”.

Over the past eight years, I’ve felt that the administration didn’t want to be a friend to the world but rather be the kid in the school yard who takes their ball and goes home.  The President pledged to be a “friend to all”.  Peace can’t start if you are making people your enemy.  The whole concept of the “Axis of Evil” was nothing more than drawing a line in the sand and creating enemies.

Of course the President even had something just for us geeks.  It was a passing reference, cut he did pledge to bring science back to the forefront.  In my opinion, the Bush administration did not respect Science.  The staff was notorious for editorializing scientific reports to say what they wanted them to say rather than saying the truth for example.  Perhaps with the new transparency pledge, a president who understands technology, and a desire to bring the US back to #1 in the world in many areas, science will now be well funded and not be looked down upon or brushed under the table.

And being more transparent is already showing up.  The White House’s official website http://whitehouse.gov flipped the switch on the new site a few minutes before the swearing in.  People immediately started dissecting the new site.  The old site’s robots.txt file had over 2400 lines in it, many were mechanical – Google doesn’t need to index the cgi-bin folder.  But many were content that the administration did not want to get indexed.  The new site came up with a two line robots.txt.

And he’s going to keep the Blackberry.

For for this geek there was a lot of good news and that’s pretty amazing.

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