Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration--notes

Barack H. Obama, the President-elect of the United States, walking in, shaking hands and hugging supporters, looking cool and collected as usual. It is obvious he is happy and nervous. People cheer, "O-bam-a! O-bam-a!" and then settle down for the business of swearing in.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein welcomes the 44th President of our Democracy. Celebrates the peacefulness of our transition from one leader to another. This is the moment when the dream that was spoken on the steps of the Lincoln memorial reached the steps of the White House.

Dr. Rick Warren (controversial for his support of prop-8) Acknowledging the supremacy of the Lord God, whose story history is. Celebrate the peacefulness of the transfer of power, celebrate the inauguration of the first African-American President. Give Barack Hussein Obama wisdom, courage, and compassion to lead. Help us to remember we are Americans, united not by race, religion, or blood, but by commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we forget prosperity is thine, forgive us. When we fail to defend those who need defense, forgive us. Help us to serve others.
(I'm liking this prayer)
Quoting the Lord's prayer. I see tears in the audience.

Aretha Franklin, singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Big band playing. Her hat evokes an image of a dark shining star.

5 minutes and GWB is out of office.

Why is Bob Bennett speaking? Oh--he's introducing John Stevens, who will administer the oath of office to Joe Biden.

What a powerful oath. Simple, yet powerful.

Dick Cheney is out of office.

Simple gifts, performed by Itzhak Perlman, Yo-yo Ma, and a couple of other people whose names I don't remember. Arrangement by John Williams. So far it doesn't sound much like simple gifts; quite a bit of dissonance at the beginning. Anthony McGill on clarinet brings in the first strains of the main theme while the rest of the performers dance around the theme, complimenting it before joining. This is one of my favorite songs--one I wish we had in our hymnal, actually. Sounds like Simple Gifts running down the Potomac, through tributaries, over rapids, through the sinuous stretch to the delta and out to the ocean.

John G. Roberts will now administer the Oath of Office. Great--they got a stool for the girls so they can see! Obama seems a little anxious, forgetting words, going fast, but smiling at his own mistakes.

Barack Hussein Obama is now the President of our Nation. There really are tears in the eyes of many in the crowd--happy, smiling, crying faces.

Gracious, Obama thanks his predecessor. He talks of gathering storms, of remaining true to the ideals of our founding fathers and founding documents to weather the difficult times we see ahead. Nagging fear across the nation that future generations will experience a lower standard of living. We have chosen hope over fear, unity over division. The time has come to set aside childish things. Pass on from generation to generation that all men are free and deserve to pursue a full measure of happiness.

I have chills listening to this man speak. He has a rare gift for oratory.

We will restore science to its rightful place (yeah!!!). The question we will ask is not whether our government is too big or too small but if it is effective. Our nation can not prosper long when the market favors only the prosperous. Reminding us that previous generations faced down communism with alliances with others.

I can't believe he's really President. Listening to him I believe what he's saying; I believe he will work toward a better, more peaceful nation; I want to see the world he speaks of, where tribal divisions dissolve, where poor nations become more prosperous, where the corrupt are forced out of power in favor of true civil servants. He is a leader, promising to take us to a beautiful land, if we will but follow.

As they pan across the audience I see solemnity, holiness, firm resolve to create the world of which President Obama speaks. Quoting George Washington to tie the vision he's presented with to the promises of the past, promising us a future of hope and change and freedom, he ends his inaugural address.

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