Before I get into anything too politically related, I should probably explain my "alignment", so to speak. My views fit most closely with the Libertarian Party, and so I wholeheartedly support them. I am a Christian per my belief set, however because I am not a "fanatical" Christian I prefer to call myself "spiritual". So there you have it. I am a spiritual Libertarian. On to my commentary about the inauguration.
Yesterday, as we swore in our 44th President, I have never been more proud of and disappointed in the American people. The reasons I was proud were obvious. We overcame barriers of all kinds - not just race - and elected an African American President. It's an amazing moment, and one we should be very proud of.
What disappointed me, however, was the way former President Bush was received when he came out. And how everyone acted when he left. Some were saying that BBC made the booing sound louder and I beg to differ. I was watching CNN's live stream and I heard it. I cringed for us as a people.
How dare we disrespect the man who held that office. Of course he wasn't the greatest president we've ever had, but he certainly wasn't the worst. How could he be when he quadrupled our foreign aid money and kept our soil free of a terrorist attack for seven years after 9/11? That's not all he's done for the good of the country and the world, but the only things we remember are the bad decisions he's made - or the decisions he didn't make, however you choose to look at it. I dare anyone who booed the former president yesterday to do better than Mr. Bush did while in office.
I suppose the more upsetting thing is that for those who paid attention to the media outlets yesterday, there were articles about the good things Mr. Bush did while in office. They weren't nearly as publicized as the inauguration, of course, but there they were. Articles with information about things the former president was doing as far back as 2001. Where were these articles when we were busy tearing him down for "non-action" and "stupidity"? The media is a powerful tool, and I think we were fleeced more than a little over the past eight years.
Back on to the inauguration, however. I've taken enough of a look at the past and should continue moving forward. I'm not one for all the frippery that goes along with ceremonies like this, but my goodness it was everywhere yesterday. And not in a good way. It was more like a media circus than a ceremony. Celebrities everywhere, TMZ and other celebrity gossip websites were making commentary about everyone's outfits, who was where and with whom.
And, hey, maybe it's a good thing. Maybe bringing politics to these highly trafficked websites will help in bringing political awareness to the forefront of our minds. But if it never goes beyond the shallow end of the pool, I don't see it happening.
There were two things about the inauguration that stood out to me and one that was quite unremarkable. The two things that stood out were Rick Warren's opening prayer and Rev. Joseph Lowery's benediction.
The opening prayer was wonderful. Despite the outrage that Warren had been invited to give the invocation, he was incredibly PC. Praying to a God of many understandings, praising our nation for having come so far, and overall giving joy and glory to the Higher Power for such a momentous occasion.
During the benediction, however, I couldn't help but feel a bit of a dividing curtain slowly coming down.
...we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around... when red can get ahead, man... and when white will embrace what is right.Maybe it's just me being sensitive, but wow. Talk about a jab at those of us lacking in the pigmentation department. I mean, I understand it went with the rhyming scheme, but if there's a more thinly veiled accusation, I would love to see one. It just didn't sit right with me. White people don't embrace what is right already? Are we the only ones who do wrong in the world? The last I can recall, we have to walk on eggshells so as not to offend anyone, but must take it with a grain of salt when we're marginalized. Interesting way of putting things, I suppose.
The unremarkable part of the inauguration was, unfortunately, Obama's speech. Anyone could have given that speech and it honestly could have been cobbled together from prior inaugural speeches. Liberally sprinkled with campaign trail slogans. He's a great public speaker, but for his first speech, I was expecting something with more passion and gratitude.
What it always comes down to, though, is that it's not about the clothes. It's not about who said what and where, regardless of how it makes me or anyone else feel. It's not about who was where or when or why, and it's certainly not about the paparazzi-infested government we have become. It's about Barack Obama and it's about what he will do.
Am I disappointed and somewhat embittered because my guy didn't win? You bet the "In God We Trust" on your dollar I am. Am I concerned about the man we elected into office? Like no other. He's inexperienced, and while that can lend a fresh perspective, it can also lead to an eagerness to please the people, rash decisions, and floundering when we need a firm, experienced hand to lead us.
But he's my president now, by the grace of the freedom so many men and women have fought and died for my right to have. And so I support him, wish him the best of luck and pray for him daily.
Because, Mr. President, it's no longer "Yes, we can!", it needs to be "Yes, we will" and "Yes, we are". It's time to put away pomp and circumstance and get down to business.