Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day

So, confession time. As into politics as I've been over the years, I’ve never actually watched an inauguration. I guess it's because my choices as an adult have been either Republicans or Clintons. Seeing the crowd at this one, though, I’m actually glad I watched it on TV. Yes, it would have been nice to tell my grandchildren that I was there. But if I were there, I would not have experienced the actual inauguration.

[Update: Adam reports that I could not be more wrong about this. That's a good thing, actually.]

Nonetheless, those pictures of the inauguration crowd are inspiring. Having been to the national mall many times, the pictures don’t do justice as to how big it is, and how many people are actually needed to fill it.

Rick Warren actually did OK. He said that God loves everybody (apparently even those Rick would deny basic civil liberties to), and he personalized his references to Jesus, which is the only appropriate way to do it in this setting. However, Rev. Lowery smoked him, and should have done the Invocation rather than the Benediction. He even slipped in my favorite verse at the end: "Let all those who do justice and love mercy, say Amen." Amen!

Aretha looks like a Church Mom now. Now that's a proper way to age. Good for her.

Malia and Sasha are just so dang cute. It would be easy to get cynical about their cuteness, but they remind my too much of my daughters, so they now have lifetime protection from my cynicism.

Quick Triva quiz: What is the only text in the Constitution in quotes? Answer: Here

So what does it mean that Chief Justice Roberts and Obama both flubbed the oath? Easy: Conservatives will now claim he’s not really president. Plus, it clears the way for the institution of Sharia law in about 2 weeks.

Actually, Obama did say it correctly, just not in one sentence. Here are the actual words he uttered:

"I Barack…I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear…that I will execute…the Office of President of United States faithfully…and will to the best of my ability…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States…so help me God."

They got the faithfully out of order, but it’s in there. And Roberts was the one who put it out of order. Geez. Chief Justices… What are you gonna do? I suppose it doesn't matter if he says the words. After all, Bush said them. Twice. (Man, kicking this Bush bashing is going to harder than I thought).

Obama already looks much older than he did on election night. He must be feeling the weight of our problems already.

But, boy did he slap Bush around in the foreign policy section of the speech.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

My favorite line was this:

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear.

Amen, America.


Adam said...

"Yes, it would have been nice to tell my grandchildren that I was there. But if I were there, I would not have experienced the actual inauguration."
You're wrong on that count. We saw everything as it happened on jumbotron, and felt the pules of the gathered masses. And we got to shout "Amen" with the benediction. Worth the cold.

Dan S said...

I keep forgetting that we live in the 21st century now.

OK, so I guess deep down, I am really jealous about not being there, and was hoping that actually being there was just cold and miserable.

But, deeper down, I'm glad that you were were there Adam, and it was worth it all. Tell us more!

PG said...

Nice parsing of the speech, Dan. I listened to it two and a half times today. It's an excellent speech, substantive and eloquent.

This has been a day to remember.

brownie said...

While you're ready to mess yourself with giddy Obamamania, remember...he's just a president, not a savior.

Dan S said...

I'll try to remember that Mr. Killjoy McFuddyDuddy. :)

Don't worry though. I'm actually in the middle of writing an article about how Obama's role in society is designed to disappoint us, because he's now the king, not the prophet.

Anonymous said...

The telling of more:
Imagine arriving amidst the joyfully jostling crowds just in time to see the sky turn to a pale glow of purple over the capitol dome. Imagine standing there for hours stamping feet by the millions to keep warm. Imagine the giant screens showing video of Pete Seeger leading "From the Redwood Forests" followed several seconds later by the sound of his reedy voice, and imagine singing along with perfect strangers from California who happen to be nearby.
Keep warm. Keep stamping. Watch the myriad introductions. Hear the chorus of boos, hisses, and Nah nah nah nah hey hey's whenever Bush or Cheney shows up. Decide that stony silence is more appropriate. (Few seem to agree.) Rock to Aretha, swell with Izak and Yo-Yo.
Listen and wonder if you will be asked some day; if this will be one of those moments; if this president will become worthy of the question: "were you there?"
Imagine the benediction and wonder what it means for Yellow to be Mellow. But shout Amen! Amen! Amen!
And then try to get home.
Imagine that this is DC, and people are happy. They are happy, and they will say for the rest of their lives: "I was there the day..."

Robert Sievers said...

Well, maybe there is something to the Obama phenomenon.

Yesterday, Taco Bell was selling Tacos for $.20, so that helped my budget. Tonight is the coldest night in Floirida since I have been here, so global warming is on the run. I expect Washington will pay off my mortgage soon too. Woohoo!

Dan S said...

Great story Adam -- you should write it up proper for your kids.

And see, Bob, all is going to be OK. Your .20 tacos may even help with your heating bill.

Jenna said...

I had to watch the whole thing later on youtube...my preschool class just wouldn't stop talking enough for us to hear...but I did have it on (they love NPR). One student came in and told me "I have a new President, his name is Barack Obama." what great parents she has.

I think the Obama's first dance at the Neighborhood Ball was one of the best moments of the day...At Last.