Obama’s inauguration

barack_obama_podiumI’ll join the chorus of what is likely hundreds of thousands of bloggers who are commenting on Obama’s inauguration. I didn’t go to the event itself, but at least when I’m old, I’ll be able to say I blogged on it.

I’m probably too cynical to be moved to tears by his speech, but I was impressed by how pointed some of his points were. He made it clear that anyone who would “stop clenching their fists” would be welcome as part of his program. He also said that those abroad in the practice of blaming everything on the West (read: the US) will have to answer to their own people for their actions, not ours.

Obama’s presidency, obviously, means the world to African Americans (and black people everywhere, probably) for its historic significance, and the fact that the highest glass ceiling has been broken. It doesn’t mean that racism is gone; it just means that racism alone can’t prevent someone from achieving their dreams. Powerful. I felt my lip tremble seeing older African Americans in the audience watching with a mixture of pride and unexpected joy.

For many more people, those of us who are just a shade (or two) darker than the typical person in high office, and those of us who have funny, unpronounceable names, we feel a bit of a barrier broken, too. Remember, Obama’s first name is routinely misspelled…and he still won with a healthy margin in the election. For those of us with “foreign-sounding” names, that gives us hope, too.

I’m also struck by how louder the celebrations are this time around, compared to 2000 and 2004. But, then again, I’m in the Bay Area, most of my friends are college-educated and Left-leaning, and Hollywood and newsmakers tend to be, too. I’m sure there are thousands of Pentecostal churches across America (80 million Americans are Pentecostal, mind you) with millions of weeping, mourning congregants.

The honeymoon will eventually end, and the backlash by conservatives will eventually mount, but Obama has made it clear that he doesn’t plan a Rove-like war for its own sake. Reasonable pushback from the opposition is always healthy, if “reasonable” is still in the GOP dictionary. Let’s hope the Republicans can take the next 4-8 years to grow up.

Rich Lowry (National Review) was talking about Bush’s sincerity and honesty, as he leaves the White House, and I thought of what George Constanza said, when Jerry asked him how to lie: “It’s not a lie if you believe it’s true.”