No doubt about it: yesterday was a historic day. I hope that years from now all of us will remember where we were when President Obama was inaugurated as our nation’s 44th President. Nancy and I, alas, couldn’t watch it as we were traveling to Yosemite National Park for our annual Chef’s Holidays trip. We were able to listen to it compliments of National Public Radio and we’re grateful for that.
Yesterday’s events held meaning for so many people on so many levels it’s hard, even a day later, to encapsulate all the emotions. As I said in a previous post, I always believed we would have a President of African descent in my lifetime and in that sense this isn’t much of a surprise. I was raised to always believe racism to be a sin and I believed that our nation wouldn’t keep excluding the gifts and talents of all our men and women of color. That said, perhaps the most moving part of yesterday was hearing from the aging generation who still vividly remembers segregation, and how grateful they are to live long enough to see this.
For me the inauguration of President Obama has less to do with race and more to do with hope. His inaugural address struck several chords with me. Here are a few excerpts:
- On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
- In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor — who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom. For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
- The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do. (emphasis mine)
- 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.
OK, maybe I should have included the whole address.
Finally, you can see some changes in this page. I did take down the countdown clock of the last President’s administration, but for the time being I’ve edited it to be the days since this inauguration. I may leave it up indefinitely or I may take it down after the first 100 days; I haven’t decided yet. I’ve also added the new White House blog under “political blogs.” I found it this morning; it seems that Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media, will be keeping a blog. I’ll be interested to read his stuff.
That’s all for now.