Let me first say just how remarkable I found today's inauguration. It blows my mind, that with all the partisanship surrounding politics in this country, at times rising to the level of open animosity and hostility, we can, without the slightest disturbance, remove one president from power and within moments swear in his idealogical opposite.
Whomever you voted for, McCain or Obama or Bob Barr or any other crazy write-in, it's impossible to deny the magnitude of ushering in our first black president. On our road trip, my dad told me how he never thought he'd live to see it. My first thought in response was, "I'm surprised it has taken so long." But then I thought about how I'm only 25 years old. The civil rights movement is nothing but a chapter in my high school social studies book that I skimmed through. I didn't live through Rosa Parks, or Martin Luther King, or Malcom X. I didn't see people getting pummeled with fire hoses in the streets or threatened with K-9s. Because of my youth I'm able to dismiss Jim Crowe laws as a silly, albeit dark, chapter in our past, and before I really stop to think about it, I consider it our country's distant past. But its not. So today IS a big deal. It will rank high in my generation's 'events we lived'. My dad's generation had the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing, and Kent State (amongst many, many others). Well, my generation's list is short- the Berlin Wall, the shuttle disaster, 9-11. This absolutely belongs on our list.
NOW. All that being said. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that President Obama is a fantastic speaker. I thoroughly enjoy listening to him every time he gets behind a podium. I don't always agree with what he's saying, but he certainly says it in remarkable fashion. Today I was sitting around a tv with some guys, watching the constant replay of his speech. We started talking about how he was saying a lot but not really saying anything. Really a lot of what Marines call 'touchy-feely' stuff. We didn't really expect him to get up there and talk major policy and strategy, that's not what the inauguration is for, but what cracked us up was the look on the faces of the people in the crowd. The "I would love you no matter what you said right now" look. I really think they would have been cheering, clapping and crying even if his speech had gone like this-
"America is a land where unicorns and leprachauns can live in relative peace and harmony. We have moved beyond the politics of our individual cloud castles, and into an era where we can share that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, where no unicorn will be judged by the length of his horn, and where affordable green outfits with pointy, gold buckled shoes are available to everyone. My fellow Americans, join me now in our epic battle for Mordor. We must destroy the ring of financial crisis..."
I'm gonna stop before I get too carried away. Like I said, I didn't expect a State of the Union on his first day, I just don't think anyone on that lawn cared what he said, they were just digging that sexy voice and frequent dramatic pauses...
Best of luck President (no longer elect, which I didn't even know was an 'official' office until you had people in sandwich boards with 'Office of the President Elect' walking around). I truly hope that you take this country in the right direction.
In case you're interested, here's a LINK to TIME Magazine's top ten speeches of all time.