Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. As you saw, he fluffed his lines. Actually the mega rich owners of Manchester City, who don't know much about soccer, thought he must be a Brazilian player and offered $200 million until he kissed the USA flag and declared he wanted to stay, and preferred golf anyway.
In the small village of Kogela, Kenya where his father was born, in the large city of Birmingham, Alabama where Rosa Parks decided she wanted to sit at the front of the bus in 1955, outside Central High in Little Rock, where federal troops had to be deployed to get black kids up the steps and into class, and at the Texas Embassy in Trafalgar Square, London, there was great celebration.
I joined the crowd in a small village in Yorkshire, Burley in Wharfedale, half way between the market towns of Otley and Ilkley, at the Queens Head pub on Main Street. They were having an inauguration party, complete with red, white and blue bunting, inauguration T shirts, even a pair of Barack Obama white boxer shorts, and later the Wharfedale Saxo-phone Quartet. The landlord, John Proctor, had put up a giant screen in the main bar and I ordered from the special menu a 250gm Obama burger piled high with a couple of large all beef patties, cheese, char grilled pineapple, onion rings, salad, french fries(or were they freedom fries) and a large Stars and Stripes flag on a stick stuck atop the huge sesame seed bun. All lovingly prepared by executive chef Tim Yulden.
Within a couple of hundred yards in either direction I could have gone to The White Horse, The Red Lion, The Malt, The General Pioneer, but no special celebrations there. Immediately across the road is the soccer field where the mighty Burley Rovers play. The BBC TV broadcast from Washington D.C showed the 2 million plus crowd freezing but happy. The most sensibly dressed were the Capital Police who had their ear mufflers unfurled from their hats.
Many thought that Obama's speech was not as moving as, say, that of John Kennedy, but I think the world got the message. There are many tough decisions on the home front with the economy, but I was glad to see a repeat of the warning to America's and the West's enemies that he was going to 'kick ass' if Muslim extremists kept raising their ugly heads.
The Obamas had to endure 10 or more inauguration balls and dinners for the rich and influencial. Foreign dignatories were not officially invited to sit in the special seats at the inauguration. We did see glimses of Mohammed Ali, Denzel Washington, Bruce Springstein, Steven Spielberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oprah Winfrey, Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, Don King and Aretha Franklin with THAT hat. Vice-President Joe Biden had his 'do' for his faithfull friends from Delaware and Pennsylvania, but he had invited one of Europe's and the world's most notorious freeloaders, the ginger haired Welsh politician Neil Kinnock, 'The Welsh Windbag.'.
If you ever visit Taylor, TX in the centre of the state, you will find the world's best beef barbecue brisket at the smoke stained restaurant of Louie Mueller. I love great brisket and at Mueller's you order at the counter, it's weighed and you can buy cole slaw, potato salad, and its put on grease proof paper and you go and sit at a tressle table and eat with your fingers. Round the corner in this railroad junction, founded by many Czech, Polish, Swedish, Ango-Irish and German immigrants, which used to be humming and a huge abandoned muti storey hotel for passengers and crew stands a small bar on a corner. You enter via either the white only or coloreds only swing door. The signs are no longer there, but white and black customers still go in for a beer and a burger and to play pool, by those separate entrances and sit on either side of the bar to this day. I have visited twice and entered separate doors each time.
I can remember when high schools were segregated, as obviously were the athletic teams and leagues. When Jerry Levias was recruited for the Southern Methodist -SMU Mustangs, in the fall of 1966 the fans, players, coaches and administrators of other South West Conference universities were outraged and nasty to him and his brave coach Hayden Fry. I remember watching Bullet 'Bob Hayes' win the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and later star for the Dallas Cowboys. Can you imagine any team not having lots of black athletes if they want to win anything? They discovered that these guys can run fast and that white guys can't jump. Today the SouthWest Conference is no more.
Well, if 47 year old President Obama quits smoking, perhaps he can enjoy over 40's adult soccer league or even play with wife Michelle in co-ed soccer. Barack, get your appointment secretary to call 1 703 492 KICK or www.mdcvsa.org on your Blackberry.