Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Revolution WAS Televised

As much as I love the Gil Scott-Heron song "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," I'm glad to live in the era where he was proved wrong. At least I'm pretty sure he was, because I saw the Revolution this morning on my flat screen Sharp, along with hundreds of millions of other people who watched their TVs, their computers, their iPods and their cell phones, all across the globe.

(If you don't know the song you can get a taste of it on You Tube by clicking here:
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Ironically, the one way Scott-Heron got it right in the lyric -- "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised / The Revolution will be LIVE!" -- he could have never fully imagined in 1970. It was "live" all right -- live on every news channel and network, live on the internet via CNN.com among others, live on chat pages, blogs, cell phones, landlines, texts, e-mails and oh yeah, live in person. This was not just a political, cultural and historical revolution, it was a revolution in communication.

I myself watched it on TV as I posted status updates on Facebook, and that was a wondrous way to share, get instant feedback (from friends as close as down the street to as far away as Ireland), and read what was other people's minds as it was all going down. For instance, I learned exactly where to look for my friend Dena's brother Jay in the melee -- bass trombonist for the Air Force Band, front row, third from the left (saw a lot of big brass, but alas, never saw him). My sister Lesa called from her cell and we chatted as I got emotional -- she was on her way to pick up our mom Joyce to go to an Obama party. As it got to oath time, I ran downstairs, interrupted my son Xavier's therapy and turned on the TV so me, my husband Warren, Xavier and his vision therapist Sandy could all watch THE MOMENT. I teared up -- Sandy got chills -- Warren held Xavier and smiled at his two year-old. His smile seemed to say, no matter what the challenges, anything is possible. Xavier cooed and drooled.

Then we listened to THE ADDRESS -- I can't remember it well now, other than the impression it left. It was quietly celebratory, intelligent yet accessible, encompassing and pointed ("Time to make hard decisions / not to compromise ideals for safety / restore science to its proper place," etc.), patriotic but expansive. Then Warren, Xavier and I drove to Xavier's speech therapy. I texted in the waiting room with my friend Stacy and learned that Obama (like me) is a lefty. Just when I didn't think my pride in this man and his accomplishments couldn't soar any higher, it found a new level. Sorry, but I'm a sucker for a southpaw.

When we got home, two e-mails were waiting for me: one from my friend Susan Shaffer in New York who e-mailed from her iPhone; another from my friend Vanessa inviting me to an impromptu Obama party that I obviously missed. Back on Facebook, lots more updates -- on CNN and CNN.com, more footage, photos, updates. Even the reporters were in the crowd with Flip Videos, uploading "man on the street" bits to Twitter and Facebook, just like the man on the street was doing! The Revolution was most definitely televised -- because EVERYBODY had a way to televise it!

BUT, even more important than the technology and communication revolutions we took part in today, was the realization of the Revolution Martin Luther King, Jr. "dreamed" of forty-six years ago, a dream the majority of this nation helped turn into reality last November the old-fashioned way: by getting up, getting out and walking into voting booths all across the land. 

Not only did a "black man" become President of the most powerful nation in the world today, a young man became President, a biracial man became President, a son of an immigrant became President, an intelligent man became President, an inclusive man became President, a humble man became President, and a loving husband and father became President. This list, I'm sure, could go on and on, as it should, because there should never be anything finite about Revolution. After all, it changes everything. Especially when it's televised.

LLH out.

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