Monday, April 27, 2009

Inauguration 2009

Die USA lieben ihren Präsidenten, oder?

Here is another translation of an article I wrote in January 2009 for DEICHHELDEN

Americans love their president, don’t they?

It has been official for over two weeks now, America’s first African-American president is officially in office and it seems that Americans love him. Furthermore, the whole world is fascinated with President Barack Obama. DEICHHELDEN reporter, Janina Marquordt, met five young Americans to find out how they have witnessed this historical event and asked them what they really think about their president.

Megan Dixon, 25, Hyatsville, MD,
Katie Edwards, 22, Brooklyn, NYC,
Pat Roxas, 24, Manhattan, NYC,
Marie Jean-Louis, 25, Brooklyn, NYC,
Dwayne Hackett, 25, Brooklyn, NYC

For inauguration, the 20th of January, an estimated 1.5 million people went down to the National Mall to witness how Obama got sworn in, what did you do for inauguration?
Megan: I went to the National Mall with several friends of mine and watched the ceremony on jumbotrons. It was exciting and exhausting because we had stayed up all night the night before in order to get down there super early. It was crowded, and crazy, and for a while we didn’t think we would make it up to the Mall because they had closed down so many streets for security. We finally found a way and were actually close to the Washington Monument.
Marie: I was at work but we watched it on a small TV that my co-workers had organized, so I was able to watch most of it.
Pat: Woke up at 11 o’clock, (I couldn’t go to DC), turned on the TV and watched it, the best seat you can get is in front of your TV.
Megan: Yes, I could have just watched it on TV, I didn’t even see that much, but it felt great being able to be part of a huge historic moment and share it with others.

How did you feel when the first African-American president got sworn in?
Dwayne: Unfortunately, I was at work, so I missed a good portion of it; however, my highlight was to learn that he was the official president of the United States.
Pat: I voted for Obama, and I think that was more important than going to DC to see him being sworn in.

Do you remember the day Obama got elected, and did you expect him to win?
Katie: I didn’t think it was gonna happen but I kinda lost faith in our country the second round of Bush being in office. So I thought that it was really cool for a black president who was about change and a lot of new things happening, but I thought people didn’t wanna take that risk or do something different for once. I was kinda doubting our country but got pleasantly surprised.
Dwayne: I am from Barbados, our population is 95% black, so for me it was more so because his father was a direct descendant from Africa and his mother being mixed. You have this boy who would have, 50 years ago, been walked all over, not just because he is black but because he is mixed, to instantly becoming president of the United States. The fact that that you would have someone to come from the lowest of the lows, to catapult its way all the way of the top, was a world-changing event.
Megan: I had a bunch of friends over and we watched it on TV. I remembered the last elections when it was Kerry versus Bush, we thought Kerry would win, and then as the night went on, when it looked like he was winning, and didn’t at the end, made me feel so awful, it was so disappointing. So I had that in the back of my head and I was pretty sure, but also scared about what could happen if he wouldn’t win, just like Kerry. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the TV and when we learnt that Obama won, we were all screaming and dancing. On the news they started showing all the stuff that was going on in DC, all the people coming out in the streets to celebrate, so we decided to go down, too. People were high fiving and hugging strangers. It was definitely a night I will always remember.

What does Obama stand for, and what are you hoping will change?
Pat: Obama stands for a bunch of high expectations that need to be met. ‘We will harvest the wind, the sun, and the soil’, he said. We need new energy sources-our climate is changing. He’s definitely got a long four years.
Marie: He stands for the people, the middle class, the people that make up most of the United States, the ones that get screwed by our taxes. I want everybody out of Iraq. I want the economy to go back up. I want more fairness between classes. I want everybody to have health insurance, and I want woman to have the same rights. [A week and a half, after inauguration, Obama signs the “Lily Ledbecker Fair Pay Act”, under which pay is not determined by gender or skin color. The act was named after the now 70 year-old Lily Ledbecker, who went to the Supreme Court, to effectuate the same wage for females like herself, and their male co-workers, but her case had been denied.]
Megan: He is trying to bring in a new era of government that is transparent, and that actually works for the people more so than the big corporations. I am concerned of the state of our educational system, the state of health care. I also hope that he can help restore our reputation throughout the world.
Dwayne: There are so many things that I want to change, but what I really want to change is that I would prefer that he would find a way for companies’ recognition for the need of the people, meaning more jobs and fair payment for the jobs. I want payments to be adjusted.
Katie: I think he is a great icon of every person in America, like the president should be, and that’s why he has a lot on his plate. I hope that it will inspire other people to put their expectations in regards and actually do things to change. It’s everyone’s job to make something change, not just his. He is just not gonna fix everything, and I hope people will understand that.
Pat: He is not inspiring people, the people have to inspire him. He is the president that is subjected to change what the people want. He will only do what the people push him to do.
Katie: Anything is better than what we had for the past eight years, so even if he fails at everything, he still stands for something amazing that is way better than what we’ve had.
Dwayne: Exactly, regardless of all the turmoil we are going through, it was a world-changing event and I think it is the first of many dominos that will fall, probably all over the world. No matter how his presidency ends, it is a new age.