Last night, I stayed up later than usual to bake a huge batch of patriotic cupcakes for this evening's Inaugural Party. While stirring and frosting and decorating, I played an old LP I have been carting around with me for years but have never actually listened to. The cover has two giant photos of JFK and FDR and reads:
"United States Presidents Series - actual speeches of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy."
"Hear and re-live the historic moments of these classic speeches by two great American presidents. The complete inaugural address of John F. Kennedy, the 35th president, on January 20th, 1961. Highlights from Franklin D. Roosevelt's most memorable speeches from 1933 to 1945. Where were you the day these voices shaped the hopes and aspirations of free men everywhere?"
Fitting, no? After listening to those speeches, and to President (!) Obama's speech today, I would say that JFK and FDR would be impressed. The America that they spoke of in those tough times - Depression, war, a dearth of spirit - practically mirror where we are today. We pulled ourselves outta the mud before, we can do it again.
Later I put on another old album - Harry Belafonte & Lena Horne, 1970 - and had to chuckle at this line from the song, "Love Story" when they are playfully imagining their future together and their hypothetical child:
L: "He'll drink his baby brew ..."
H: "From a big, brass cup ..."
L: "Someday he may be President ... ?"
H: "If things ever loosen up."
So congrats, America! You've loosened up.