Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day!

Did you watch the inauguration today?  I watched parts of it on CNN while I paid my bills this morning.  But what I really, really wanted was to be there.

From the time when I was 12 until about 3 months ago, my parents lived in a suburb outside of Annapolis, MD called Severna Park.  It was about an hour's drive to DC.  Let's see, that means they lived there during W's first and second inauguration, and possibly during Clinton's second inauguration.  I remember having an all out fight with my parents because they wouldn't let me take a day off school to go to the inauguration.  Oh well, it'll happen one day.

As for the speech, I thought President Obama did exactly what he needed to do: he managed expectations.  (Here's the text of the speech, via BizJournals.com)  Right now, people see Obama as a savior for whatever ails them, and I think it was realistic and practical for him to address that and say that the road to a healthy nation is difficult.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. 

He did two things here. He managed expectations by invoking the values of hard work and courage. But he also very successfully combined his vision of "change" with the older "values" of loyalty, fair play and patriotism.  Obama's a master communicator, and with these two sentences, he brought together the old and the new way of doing politics (according to him -- I'm not sure the "new" way is all that different from the old).  

He also didn't shy away from religion.  I especially like these two sentences: 

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers.

That "patchwork heritage" can only be an asset if we can recognize the value in other ways of life. If tensions still exist that will cause disputes or violence, the asset turns into a liability.  But I think the fact that we elected a man of darker skin color than ever before shows that we're willing to try a new way of life in that respect.  Differences as an asset.  I hope it can work.  

Overall, I think the new president did a great job.  I hope he can make the positive changes that he was elected to make.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I didn't know your parents left MD, how sad, where did they move to?