On the day of the inauguration, my dad noted on the phone to me that he thought that January 20, 2009, was a more important day in the history of the United States than the election of John F. Kennedy. For some reason, I was taken aback by this thought; afterall, Kennedy was a massively exciting figure during a complicated, transitional time in American political economy and culture.
But, in looking back a few days, I can see why my father says this and the photos he pointed me to on the Big Picture site confirm it. Because the world has become smaller (or flatter, or warmer, or more wired), the impact of Obama’s ascendency is simply felt more widely. Obama represents a fundamental shift in the way we perceive others in the world, peering at us as we peer at them.