INAUGURATION DAY 2009: The Positive Power of Ideas

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By Jim Ross Meskimen

I have to say that I was very impressed by the spectacle and intention of the Barack Obama presidential inaugural address. It seemed to me to be indeed a special and a memorable occasion, for a number of reasons.

The singular event of the inauguration of the first African-American president is of course without precedent, and an undeniably positive sign of change, one that many Americans rightly see as a signal of forward advance and improvement.

In some ways, however, that is truly just a “skin deep” issue.

The larger message, to me anyway, was his call for more rationality and responsibility to heal our nation, and his invitation to all Americans to participate, no matter how daunting the task before us. That has significance for people of every color; it is a spiritual message.

The mere fact of an elected leader delivering a convincing communication that stressed responsibility and openness so contrasts with the prior disingenuous stance of President Bush, that it was as night to day. The mere fact that he delivered that marvelously crafted prose c
orrectly, without stumbling, and with the easy style of a speaker who not only knew of what he spoke but was familiar enough with the concepts to be comfortable conveying them to the largest crowd of people one might ever see outside of a NASCAR race, was again a remarkable and welcome change.

At last, a president one can listen to without wincing.

So, to me the inaugural address was a challenge to Obama that was met, in that it expressed views that mirrored the sentiments of a majority of Americans who were ready to be spoken for by a new leader; that we are tired of being known as an uncompromising and warlike people, tired of ignoring the obvious weaknesses in our system, and tired of being led around and treated shabbily by an uncaring administration.

This was an enormous challenge for the new president to fulfill, and he did it with graciousness and ease.

It is too soon to judge whether or not Barack Obama will actually have the backbone and the strength of character to back up his words with the rational actions that will be demanded, or whether he will become overwhelmed by the myriad commitments and political connections that must have played an important role in getting him into this lofty position.

Indeed, already there are troubling alliances that he enters his first term with. Most disturbing is his sponsorship of The Mother’s Act, which mandates psychiatric evaluation of all pregnant women, which of course makes wholesale drugging of the next generation a fait accompli.

But that not withstanding, I came away with the welcome sensation that here, at least, was a man who understands enough about language, goals and ideas to possibly bring about some wide positive change for the better, or lacking that, might at least have the good sense to stand aside and let others do what must be done to create a country we can all prosper in.

There is, at least, someone HOME in the White House.

May he maintain his rationality, his balance and his sense of history.

And may we all find it within ourselves to stand every day for freedom with as much dignity and perseverance as the example set by Barack Hussein Obama on this day.

Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 8:16 am  Comments (5)