Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day Is Finally Here

In case you haven't heard about it, today is inauguration day. The constitution says that the new President is to be sworn in by noon today. There are so many thoughts going through my head about the significance of this day. I thought I would just start writing a "stream of consciousness" type of a post, with my various thoughts, as if anyone cares. Some of this is gonna sound sappy, but whatever. It's a historic day:

  • - I have not seen so much national pride on display on a single day since 9-11-01. Obviously, the nation came together on 9-11 as a reaction to several despicable acts of cowardly terrorism, but today is much different. Today, it's because there is a genuine feeling of hope and brotherhood. Despite the fact that the global economy is in the crapper, Barack Obama obviously has the ability to inspire hope in people. Just look at the above picture of the National Mall in Washington, DC. Amazing. There are supposedly about 2 million people gathered on the Mall to witness this historic event.

  • - Even the most cynical among us must acknowledge that Obama has a unique ability to inspire people of all types. It's telling that there people traveling from foreign countries to attend the historic inauguration festivities.

  • - I acknowledge that the hope that Obama has inspired could partially be due to a feeling of desperation - a need to cling to something new and positive. Nevertheless, if desperation can lead to positive action, then I'm all for it. If desperation can lead to making the right decision, then embrace that desperation. If desperation can make you proud to be an American, gimme some of that desperation. I'm tired of being thought of as a smug, arrogant country due to the public image of our smug, arrogant President and Vice President. I want America to be great again, and not because we can lob bombs at people - but because people aspire to something more. I want to be a peacemaker, not a war-maker.

  • - During the election, and since the election, I have been considering why people would vote for a black man for President when they would not in the past. In addition to Obama's aforementioned ability to inspire, I think it's also partially due to the fact that he seems to be someone who is very different from past black candidates (of which there was only one of significance - Jesse Jackson). Jesse was from the older generation that was closely tied to the civil rights movement, and many people still associated him with that movement. Many older white people were still suspicious of that era of what they considered "black militants." Obama was born in 1961, so while he grew up during the sixties, he was not a participant in any of what suspicious white people might call militant activities.

  • - I can't remember what bands played at Bush's inaugural celebrations, but I'm guessing that the bands that are playing for Obama's inaugural parties are much better: Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Usher, U2, James Taylor, Beyonce, will.i.am, etc.

  • - We have finally broken from the pattern of electing an endless stream of old white guys to be president, despite the fact our country is one of the most multi-cultural and diverse in the world. What took us so long? It just took the right candidate. In fact, you could argue that Obama is the true picture of America. He's multi-ethnic (white mother, black father). He was raised by a divorced mother (around 50% of marriages end in divorce, according to some experts). He's admitted to using drugs in his younger years (like most of us, and unlike the last two Presidents, who danced around the subject).

  • - Does anyone else think it's curious how Israel and the Palestinians took the opportunity to escalate the situation in Gaza during the time after the election, but before the inauguration? They knew that they could pretty much do whatever they wanted during Bush's "lame duck" time. Not that he would have necessarily done anything anyway, but it just seemed like a fortuitous bit of timing. And now Israel has said that they will be out of Gaza by the time Obama is inaugurated. Hmmm.

  • - Despite the fawning coverage by the news media, not everyone is happy about the results of the election. Some of the quotes in that article are startling to me. Here's one that is particularly disturbing:

    "I don't want the federal government to give away our individual rights. I don't want them to take over our business. I don't want them to take over our religion."

    Are you kidding me? They are worried about the government giving away our individual rights after what Bush did with the Patriot Act? And this person somehow has gotten it into his head that the government will "take over our religion," despite the fact that Obama has never expressed any desire to do so, and the fact that the constitution expressly forbids it? You know - the First Amendment. Stuff like this just baffles me. I get the feeling that they're just worried about their guns.
  • - For the first time in a long time, I feel obligated to capitalize the word "President." Take that for what it's worth.

So there you have it. My thoughts. Leave yours in the comments it you choose. Or you can grumble to yourself about what an idiot I am, or nod your head in agreement. Either way, in the immortal words of Grace Slick at Woodstock:

It's a New Dawn...

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