"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

High Hopes

I am filled with such a sense of hope and patriotic spirit as this day ends. If you weren't able to watch today's inauguration, there are videos, pictures, and transcripts all over the web. President Obama's inaugural address was spot on as far as I was concerned, cool and confident, but honest and strong.

What affected me more than anything was the number of people at the inauguration...millions; and even more celebrating throughout the country. I am being completely honest when I say that I wouldn't care what party someone was affiliated with, or who the person was taking office, if they could bring that kind of excitement and hope to so many. President Obama happens to be the man I chose, the man I voted for. But I think people of all parties and views had to take notice today of the unification of most of the country.

This inauguration and the days leading up to it have been magical. Since when have we ever celebrated a president like this? When have these kind of crowds come to see any candidate and then inauguration events like this? Not in my lifetime. There are some words out there about President Obama being too much of a "rock star" or a "pop icon". You know what I say to that? Great. Fantastic! Because people, especially young people, pay a lot of attention to rock stars and pop icons-- and it is about time we had a country of people paying as much attention to the president as American Idol contestants.

But back to his inaugural address, I loved that President Obama rarely used the word "I", but instead peppered his address with "we" and "us". He has never put himself above the voters, and is asking everyone to stand up and participate in the repair of the country.

He was realistic about the current situation, but offered hope in all the obstacles the US has overcome in its long history. He spoke to the other countries of the world, offering our friendship, but also standing strong on any country that wishes us only harm.

He offered hope, inspiration, and determination as our values and mission-- instead of fear and petty grievances fueled by politics.

I still stare at the picture above of the crowds there in just complete awe. This man has united so many in a time when it seemed impossible. He has so many expectations to live up to, so many of us counting on him. He took his first steps today, and I am proud to know this is the new leader of our country. I haven't been able to say that in a long time.

For a transcript of his speech, click here. For a video of his speech, click here.

Schneider: Tone of Obama speech right for the times

By Bill SchneiderCNN Senior Political Analyst

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama's inaugural address was cooler, more measured and reassuring than that of other presidents making it, perhaps, the right speech for the times.

President Obama renewed his call for a massive plan to stimulate economic growth.
more photos »

Some inaugural addresses are known for their soaring, inspirational language. Like John F. Kennedy's in 1961: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.''
Obama's address was less stirring, perhaps, but it was also more candid and down-to-earth.
"Starting today,'' the new president said, "we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the work of remaking America.''
Watch Obama's inaugural address »
At a time of crisis, a president needs to be reassuring. Like Franklin Roosevelt, who said in his first inaugural in 1933, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.'' Or Bill Clinton, who took office during the economic crisis of the early 1990s. "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America,'' Clinton declared at his first inaugural.
Obama, too, offered reassurance.
"We gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord,'' Obama said.
Obama's call to unity after decades of political division echoed Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address in 1861. Even though he delivered it at the onset of a terrible civil war, Lincoln's speech was not a call to battle. It was a call to look beyond the war, toward reconciliation based on what he called "the better angels of our nature.''
Some presidents used their
inaugural address to set out a bold agenda.
At his first inaugural in 1981, Ronald Reagan said, "Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.'' George W. Bush defined the essence of the neoconservative agenda when he said at his 2005 inaugural, "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.''
President Obama did talk about having "big plans.'' But he insisted they be practical. "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small,'' Obama said, "but whether it works.''
Obama certainly knows how to be stirring. And he was at least once in his inaugural address when he talked about his new approach to diplomacy.
"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history,'' Obama declared, "but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.''
Are you listening, Iran?
Obama's was a cool speech, not a hot speech. That's what a lot of people like about the new president. He's reassuring -- "No-Drama Obama.''
At a time of mounting national anxiety, cool is good.
crowd photo courtesy AFP, swearing in photo courtesy of Reuters, article courtesy CNN


Cassandra January 21, 2009 at 2:00 PM  

I love the way he asked "How good looking is my wife?" She is going to be a great first lady.

Paula... January 21, 2009 at 5:57 PM  

the WORLD is filled with a sense of hope! They are such a charismatic couple and it shows by the sheer volume of people who braved the weather to witness such an historic event. OK OK even I had a tear in my eye - it was quite emotional!!!

It is one of those days in history where you'll always remember what you were doing when you stopped to whitness it IYKWIM.

Steve Morozumi January 21, 2009 at 9:02 PM  

this has got to be one of the most enthusiastic America has ever been about a president on this large of a scale! at the risk of tempting fate, i think Barack Obama may have more people rooting and pulling for him than even the great JFK did. i think that this presidency is that big and that important in the entirety of American history! to say it is incredible is an understatement!

-Steve @ fluxlife


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