Inauguration of the king
I must begin by apologizing for such a late reaction to the inauguration. In my defense I was quite busy on my job, but I also confess I wanted to wait and digest my reaction. After-all, this was perhaps the most historic inauguration I will ever witness. Initially, I watched the proceedings with a bit of melancholy, lacking the blind faith most Americans are placing in Obama. The entire affair seemed far more grandiose than previous inaugurations I have watched. As I processed the day, I recalled that Greek stage where nominee Obama made his acceptance speech. Obama’s commanding personality and his apparent love for the dramatic were aptly expressed on Tuesday.
It seems I am the ONLY American who was mouthing “WTF!” during Aretha Franklin’s unintelligible rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee“. Throughout the song I was embarrassed for the woman. At points I was wondering if she was slurring the words so no one would know that, like Chief Justice Roberts, she had forgotten the lyrics or if she had been drinking prior to her performance. Later that day, I heard Ms. Franklin tell CNN’s Larry King that she felt her singing was adversely affected by the cold weather. Hmm, I think she might be right. Being so cold, she probably warmed up with a little nip or three. I did not notice her shivering but I certainly heard her slurring.
I decided to Google her performance just to see how mean people were being. (You know, the Internet is full of mean people.) Much to my surprise, I could not find a single blog or news source that offered even a mild critique of her performance. (I guess I’m the only mean blogger out here.) Why? I wondered. There can be only one reason; anyone positively associated with this event and in good standing with the Democrats is beyond reproach. Maybe even closer to the truth is that the press and the nation was euphoric through the day on Tuesday. Everything seemed brighter and everything appeared more beautiful. I saw article after article praising her. Those brave souls who dared to comment on her flamboyant hat saw a snowstorm of national publications defending and complementing the hat. Having grown up in the South and in church, I am familiar with the sweet old ladies and their hats. So what? Well by concentrating on the hat rather than the bad singing, the issue is trite and trivial, as well as a matter of taste; a critique her performance would be a critique of the inauguration. The excitement and euphoria of the event disallow that, after-all, when the President was sworn in “the sky was bright, the crowd was jubilant, and even the birds were singing.” Seriously, if you have an opinion on this performance I want to hear it. Personally, I’ve never heard this patriotic hymn sung more poorly.
I expected perfection in every minute detail. When Obama jumped the gun at the start of the oath I was somewhat surprised and when Chief Justice Roberts jumbled the oath a moment later I simply chuckled. It demonstrated that no matter how high the office achieved, everyone is human. It was no surprise, however, that the press chose to focus on Justice Roberts’ stumble and ignore the apparent “off-sides” of President Obama. The honeymoon is going to include more than just an Obama love-fest, it’s going to be accompanied by continued attacks against Bush and everyone ever associated with him. Since there was so much commentary on this, I’m glad Obama and Roberts chose to re-administer the oath on Wednesday. As ridiculous as it was, we are spared more idiotic conspiracy theories.
I read blogs and commentary declaring President Obama’s inauguration speech one of the best ever given, I disagree. Although I found little wrong with the speech, it was filled with expected rhetoric and it tied into the campaign theme of hope, I heard nothing that might stand out as quotable in history books. It lacked powerful lines such as Roosevelt’s “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” The biggest surprise came with his direct comments to the Muslim world, otherwise, I feel it won’t be remembered. Although history may surprise. How events transpire in the coming years could change its significance.
Throughout the day on Tuesday I found myself becoming annoyed by the crowds and their enthusiasm. At one point, I overheard a lady comment that she didn’t get it. She said she was offended by the undignified enthusiasm of the crowds as they chanted “Obama! Obama! Obama!” and screamed like little girls at a Jonas Brothers concert. That prompted me to think critically. Was it wrong for the crowds to be so excited and express it so verbally? Was I right to be annoyed by the excited crowd? To both questions the answer was clearly, no. In fact, these people had every right and it was completely natural for them to feel and act as they did. Not only had their candidate won, (something they would not have achieved, without the failure of President Bush,) but he promises the nebulous gift of “hope“, and he had made history through the simple fact that he is not Caucasian. So unlike that woman, I get it. But you would not find me among those screaming in the crowd.