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The Inauguration

January 21st, 2009

Feinstein made a nice speech, but you know it’s going to pale to what Obama will say.

Rick Warren: God is great, god is more important than anything and everything, etc. Still, I think it might have been the right choice–his voice speaks to a lot of people who might now be willing to give Obama more of the benefit of the doubt, people who were screaming “Muslim!” and “Traitor!” just a few months ago. But–“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Um, yeah, right. Sorry, but that grates coming from a stolid right-winger.

Aretha Franklin, brilliant as you would expect her to be.

Obama is taking it all in stride, as if he does this every day. Can’t blame him–he’s got to be the most unimpressed person there. Well, aside from Michelle, perhaps.

Biden takes his oath. Boy, does he seem like he means it. Meet the Vice President.

Yo Yo Ma rocks! To the familiar style of John Williams. Shut up, Blitzer. Let the moment be.

Still, a salient point: oath or no, constitutionally, after noon DC time, Barack Obama is now President of the United States of America.

Now comes the moment we’ve been waiting for: the oath. (Who bumbled–Roberts or Obama?)

That’s it–Mister President.

Our collective failure to make hard choices.” Wow. That’s what you call a precursor.

Know this America: they will be met!

We are here because we have chose hope instead of fear–a slight to Bush and/or McCain?

The speech.

Greatness must be earned … it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things … who have carried us up … For us, for us … our capacity remains undiminished … our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions–that time has surely passed … We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil … All this we can do, all this we will do … restore the vital trust between a people and their government … without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control–and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous … we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals … 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!

When Obama speaks of humility and restraint, you can sense that he actually means it.

We know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness … we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. … they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves … it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all … to take a most sacred oath … Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it).

With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.

Not just a powerful speech, but meaning that speaks volumes. He made clear that he would be making “unpleasant decisions,” and emphasized “the spirit of service.” He’s not promising a turkey in every pot, he’s asking for sacrifice, something Bush steadfastly refused to do. This is no panderer, this is a leaser, as leaders are the ones who ask their people to do the hard things. Bush asked people to shop; Obama asks them to sacrifice.

Despite his gracious introduction praising Bush, he made it explicitly clear that he feels that Bush was asleep at the wheel. “Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions–that time has surely passed. … Without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control … We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” Not very subtle, that.

Wow… Obama with a flag pin, hand over his heart, and singing the national anthem: a host of wingnuts’ heads must be exploding right now.

And now, a bit later, the magical moment: Obama leads Bush to the helicopter. “Former President Bush,” that has a definite ring to it. And there it goes, there he goes. Sorry to be ungracious, but good-bye and good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. Not a moment too soon.

The Onion, eight years ago, led with the headline, “Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’” Incredible prescience there. More on that later, but the point: Our Long National Nightmare of War and Depression Is Finally Over.

And now, on to business.

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