Commentary: Where's My Invitation?
Buffalo, NY – I don't mind. I really don't. Honest. Really. It's OK.
Sure, everyone in the free world is going to Barack Obama's inauguration but me. I wasn't invited. OK, I will admit that since I did ALL that work for him I thought I'd at least get an invite. But I understand he's busy. There are patronage jobs to fill, Supporters to snub. I'm really OK with all this.
After all, I haven't been this happy with a new president in a looonnng time that I can remember. Of course, I'm slowly reaching that age where I don't remember much. Remind me to one day tell you the story about my forgetting the word "STOP!" while my wife was driving the car.
Anyway where was I? Oh yeah, inaugurations. I'm finally over that bitter taste of '72 when Nixon blew McGovern out of the house. I didn't go to that inauguration, either. I wasn't invited back then. But I didn't expect to be since I was a McGovernite. I was kinda, sorta hopin' - good God, did I just sound like Sarah Palin?!? - things would be different. I mean, I WORKED for the guy this time. Well, me and 3 million others. Are they going to the inauguration?
Why did I work for him? I can't speak for all 3 million of us, but I can speak for me and my ilk. We were tired of the war, tired of the injustice, tired of the division, tired of the malaise and tired of the same old-same old way of doing things. Eight years of neo-cons had sapped our hope and our spirit and led us not to what Lincoln termed the "better angels of our nature," but to fear and loathing of everything. So we volunteers loosely got together and reached out to Americans and asked them to change the system. And they did. HUA to us.
Personally, I made 552 phone calls to voters in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Georgia and Colorado. Only West Virginia, Missouri and Georgia let me down. I'm trying not to take it personally, but it does hurt. Pardon me a sec while I stifle a sob.
Ahhhh, O-K, I'm back. I also motored down Route 90 to Edinboro, P-A, one weekend and knocked on dozens of doors and handed out reams of literature (and was fed by volunteers who made oh-so-good desserts).
Not to brag (too much), but I also wrote scores of letters to editors and to T-V station managers in several states; and if that wasn't enough I wrote about 30 blogs for about a half-dozen or so Web sites. As a journalism prof, writing is kinda my forte. So that was something easy to do and I guess it came in pretty handy.
Finally, I donated my own time, services and money - as well as persuaded a few others to donate - which came out to more than $300. OK, Warren Buffet we're not, but it was the best we could do.
But here's the point: I was just one fat, old guy in little ol' Buffalo. Imagine what the other 2,999,999 people did. I am so proud of the 3 million of us and I am oh-so-joyful that America listened to our words and watched our actions and responded by electing Barack Obama.
Now the real work begins. Now we have to concentrate on healing the national wound of a long and divisive campaign and come together as one nation to work for better days.
Ummm, but ya'know, you'd think all that work would at least merit a pat on the back from the campaign, right? I was hoping for something small. Should I bring up the inauguration again? Or a chance to sip bubbly in the Oval Office with my new prez and Veep. Hey, come on, man, I mean I have friends with couches down there, so it's not as if I'd be taking up some hotel room for someone more important. There's room!
I don't even need to be named ambassador to Malta, which is now Western New York's court du jour. We may not have a spot on the statewide ticket, but we in W-N-Y own Malta. Precedent is on our side. To be honest, I'd be happy with some post office job in Key West - and not even for the whole year, January through April would be fine with me. The rest of the time some other political hack can have the job.
So, Barack, or Brian, or Rehm or Hill, give me a call. You owe me! Don't make me beg. Please.
Listener Commentator Joe Marren is an associate professor of communications at Buffalo State College.
Click the audio player above to hear the commentary now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.