Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

I want to fully appreciate the historic nature of Inauguration Day, so this will be my only post today.

I, however, would like to hear from you about what this day means to you. Please drop a comment, as I would also like to highlight some of the responses in a follow-up post.

Enjoy history.

(photo AP/Scott Andrews)


Tripp said...

My little one year old boy is growing up in an America more beautiful than the one I was born into.

Charlottesville Fan said...

Barack Obama

Candidate, President-elect, President

The battle, the truce and the victory

When a nation sets it's eyes on change, it can be done.

We have moved from "Yes we can" to "Yes we did" on to "Yes we will."

A Faithful Reader said...

A new beginning! All things are new again. For me hope returned to our people.

Charlottesville Fan inspiring words.

Drew hope your day off was an good one.

Matt F. said...

"In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations." I got chills. That's our President now, and one everyone can be proud of.

Kent H said...

I am proud of the nation that can elect and inaugurate its first African-American president. Many who criticize us must have been shocked.
Today was a good day --inaugurations are. No one transfers so much power with so little tension. May we pray now that the days following this one will be good as well.

Drew said...

While I haven't been alive through many presidential transitions, the Inauguration of Pres. Obama is of a profound historic nature.

Today is history not just because we elected the first African-American man - although it is most assuredly (and joyfully) that! Today is history because a new generation rose up to claim its power over our national direction. It is history because given the past eight years - and much, much longer actually - Americans finally feel as one, together and unified; everyone has reason to be proud today. It is history because the cynical politics of the past fell victim to a movement of optimism and hope, especially in light of our current dire circumstances. It is history because a politics of solutions trumps and triumphs over a politics of ideology.

Every American citizen will remember where they were today.

JCWhite said...

First, I am a Southern, White male over 50. I grew up in an era where there were still separate drinking fountains, schools, tables and the like. A time when all Americans were NOT treated equal.

I feel blessed that those days can now, at least for me, be put into a catagory of unpleasant memories of a bygone era; forever.

Today, I watched as Americans of all nationalities, cultures, religious backgrounds came together to show their support for this nations first African-American President. I shared their tears of joy, and their sense of pride as President Obama gave his first speech.

Today's inauguration is a historic event, but there is much more to this day than that.

Today, we were challenged to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the work of remaking America. I believe we are ready to accept that challenge and move America forward. It will not be easy, and it will not happen quickly.

Today offers hope, but hope without our commitment will be a futile gesture. That is what today means to me, an end of futility.

Roland the HTG said...

I was in DC, and besides the logistical pandemonium that seemed to rein, I was incredibly underwhelmed by almost the entire inauguration.

The oath flub was horrendous, and should have been ironed out beforehand (whether Roberts would pause after the name or after "do solemnly swear," etc.). On top of that, the speech fell miles short of where it could and should have gone.

This was to be one in the canon of great American speeches: the most historic inauguration since pretty much the first one, with a greet orator on the podium, and millions of eager supporters crammed onto the Mall. And yet we got no takeaway line: no "ask not what your country can do for you;" no "charity toward all and malice toward none." The closest was that false machismo bit about "we will defeat you." Throughout, to say nothing of the absence of concrete details about where we go from here, the rhetoric was lacking. The sentiment when he was talking about the spirit that sustains us, that of the firefighter and the nurturing mother, got lost in dependent clause after parenthetical after dependent clause. "We can do, we will do." No. That should be a triplet. We must do, we can do, we will do (or perhaps must going last, but still). This was at least one revision short of ready for primetime.

That said, the spectacle was truly something. The impact this day had on so many ordinary, hard-working people should never be forgotten, and never be diminished. Despite my displeasure with certain aspects of the ceremony, the fact that it was being held for a black man truly is a wondrous thing.

Darren Staley said...

Some are blaming Obama for the oath flub, some Roberts. But in front of a huge audience at an historic moment, I give them both a break.

On the speech, this was my favorite part, which I think kicked total ass:

"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government. Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good. 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. We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations."

This is "ask not" plus "the only thing we have to fear" times 10.

This is what I voted for.

Jesse said...

For all the spectacle, here's the moment that got me:

Flipping the news back on just as Obama is about to board his motorcade. Obama is being escorted by a uniformed military officer. They reach the limousine, and the officer abruptly swings into a salute. Obama smiles at him for a second, then abruptly remembers himself, drops the smile, and salutes the man back. After a beat, they break the salute.

The Commander-in-Chief smiles again, and warmly places his hand on the officer's shoulder as he walks by.

Something about that moment - realizing the responsibilities and the duties that he has assumed; seeing that this human being whom we have become intimately familiar with over these past few years is now at once the President, the Commander-in-Chief, and yet still Barack Hussein Obama, professor, author, organizer, husband to Michelle and father to Malia and Sasha - something about that moment got me more than any speech, prayer, performance, or image of the day.

James said...

Darren Staley, for the record and for no reason other than to speak the truth in love, it was the Chief Justice who flubbed. The oath is set down in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States. As written it is "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Chief Justice Roberts misspoke the oath and did not correct himself after being given a change by the pregnant pause by the President.