Hope, and Responsibility

The blogosphere is buzzing, I’m sure. The 44th President of the United States was just sworn in. I haven’t blogged since he was elected nearly two months ago, so this seems like a fine time to post again, amidst the buzz.

I watched the inauguration ceremony from a treadmill, sound muted, eschewing the celebration at Civic Center. As my friend suggested, I guess I’m over it. But I watched and nearly shed a tear and here’s what I think. Obama used the phrase “new age” at least twice. Of course, this can be interpreted in myriad ways depending on the frame of the listener. Two interpretations occurred to me. First is a new age of energy. I suppose that all of the plans on the table can be considered part of a new age, but a “green grid” seems like the most revolutionary idea brought to the table so far. Second, a new age of personal responsibility. This was stressed heavily in Obama’s speech. I’ve felt this way for years. The idea of some outside hand cleaning up our mess, providing for us, coddling us, this idea has gotten us into quite a mess, in my opinion. I recognize the necessary function of government for certain services — market regulation, critical infrastructure, etc. — but we all have to participate. For, if not, can we really call our country a democracy?

And so ends the build up and such begins the hard work. I, for one, am still not sold that President Obama and crew are thinking big and bold enough. But I would be remiss not to feel just a little more secure with O at the helm. Chart a course and all ahead, full steam. Now or never, it seems.

ADDENDUM:

A few thoughts the day after.  In particular, a few other important ways to interpret the “new age” Obama referred to in his speesh yesterday.  Most obvious, and one I did not touch upon, was the new age of race relations we are entering.  Despite an inordinate amount of bias that remains, having a president who is an African American will forever change how blacks and whites see each other, and for the better.  Another very important aspect of this new age is the long overdue exit of the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush(42) axis that has been calling the shots in Washington’s inner circles for nearly 5 decades.  It is unlikely that any of these evil geezers will take another place of such prominence in a Whitehouse Administration and this is a VERY good thing.  Good riddance.

Finally, a subtle but monumental choice of words by President Obama:

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers.

The emphasis is mine.  In his delivery, that phrase almost seems an afterthought, but it may well be one of the most radical aspects of Obama’s inaugural address.  With those three words, Obama recognized one of the largest “religious” group in the United States: Atheists and Agnostics.  And it seems only fitting since those pesky forefathers kept rattling on about the separation of Church and State or something.  If religion has to be dragged into political pomp, then at least we non-believers deserve a shout-out with the rest of ’em.  Hallelujah.

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