Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama I

The Obama First Inaugural Address impressed on every level.  The superb, well-paced delivery we expected and we were not disappointed.  What moved and inspired me, though, was the power of the ideas--pragmatic, direct, and imbued with the American values of fairness, equality, the rule of law, and, most importantly, the higher purpose of the American Dream that energizes all of this and all of us.

Another remarkable feature of the speech, especially for a contemporary American politician, was how little the address was about Barack and his extraordinary journey to high office.  This was a man who was not making it 'all about me'---it was all about us, our common welfare, our future, our common purpose.  Hopeful and tough, soaring and grounded, this speech was spot on in every way.

At the inaugural breakfast party I attended this morning, we watched MSNBC, nibbled on fresh fruit and bagels, and cheered and cried together as the reality that this moment had finally arrived began to sink in.  A lot of chatter about outfits, and the consensus was that Michelle had it goin' on, but Jill, well, er....  

Two favorite moments, one that always moves me every time we transition from one president to the next, is the arrival of the new man at the White House entrance.  The majesty of the place and the moment of peaceful continuity of American Constitutional processes is remarkable and not to be taken for granted.  

The second was Aretha's rendition of My Country Tis of Thee.  That hat !  Want that hat !  But as her voice wrapped around the magnificent lyrics, I felt those chills running up my spine.  A full heart of gratitude, relief, joy, and pride.

The work ahead is daunting.  We will measure this man by deeds and accomplishment, and not only by words.  And we each have a role to play.  But today, the words rang clear and true, and the best man stepped up and decisively took command.  How cool was that !!

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