Dr. Frankenfurter flipped the switch on his Medusa Machine. All barometers dropped and everyone seemed to stop in their tracks-- not Obama, not the transition team, but the population froze. Wait and see. The scandals surrounding Madoff and Blagojevich underlined the approach of the inauguration. Were they falling or was the country standing up? The ideals roused by the campaign paced back and forth. Are people proud or nervous or both or neither? The last gulp of air is being sucked out of the Bush presidency. We're standing in the vacuum of the last eight years, gathering strength. None of the instruments seem to agree. Dials are spinning, needles are dangling and a flashing sign reads "Adjust Your Expectations." This is how hurricanes are formed.
The fear of depression in the city is palpable. MTA cutbacks, the loss of jobs and retirement savings, the green skinned lady in black riding her broom in the eye of the storm. This just after the most energetic and optimistic phase of political history I have encountered. In the odd, ironic correction to the mid-nineties pop-radical mentality, political impotence (i.e. the official stance of Grunge) is gone for now. Corporate impotence has taken its place and the long slack arms of credit are tied in a knot. Did we get what we asked for in the way of change?
Regardless, this is the prelude. If the country can realign itself this quickly in this short of a period to renewed expectations, then next Tuesday has a good shot of being the official beginning of a new epoch.