The first time I heard Barack Obama speak, I thought about contacting him to do my answering machine message. I mean, let's face it, the man is a brilliant speaker. Simply by hearing his voice, callers would calm down, think of the bigger picture and feel that everything was gonna work out as long as they made an effort to change.

And that's all before they'd get to the beep.

For the first time in my life, I watched a Presidential Inauguration. And, I'm sure, so did a lot of Canadians. The millions gathered at the White House not only made me wonder if there were enough bathrooms for everyone, it also symbolized the power this one man has.

It's scary when you think about it. Have we already put President Obama onto such a high pedestal that his only option is to fall? I sincerely hope not.

While I'm certainly not a political expert, I do watch a lot of TV. And this ceremony was great TV, even with Aretha Franklin's bizarre hat and Dick Cheney looking like Star Wars' evil emperor in his wheelchair. (That's not to say that people in wheelchairs are anything but nice; it just wasn't Cheney's best look.)

When President Obama spoke, I felt included. Me, a crazy Canadian sitting in a pub called The Groundhog, having lunch with some colleagues. As cynical as we all are, he had our attention.

And, once he was done, I felt the significance of what had just happened. As he said, "This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."

He said it best, and left me feeling awed, empowered and ready for change.

I think he did that on purpose, don't you?

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