America finally has new leadership. The eight year nightmare of Bush is over, and America has a fresh face to represent it on the world stage.
It was funny that Roberts screwed up the oath. It's good to know that stage fright can get to even one of our leading legal minds.
The address itself was very good. Obama really is a gifted speaker, and the tone of this speech was appropriatley solemn but strong.
Here are a few quick thoughts
The High Points
There was a lot to like here. A few examples:
"Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents."
The image of gathering clouds and raging storms set the right tone for an address in this time. It spoke well to the challenges we face, and dovetailed nicely with this:
" Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met."
Not quite the call to service I wrote about earlier, but nonetheless a serious discussion of sacrifice by the American people in order to change the way we do business. Let's hope this translates in to responsible policy.
I also have to give him some credit for this:
"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."
As a non-believer it was at least nice to get a mention, but it felt a little token. Particularly in light of the rest of the speech. (See below)
The Low Points
"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."
- and -
"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply."
The constant drumbeat of "bipartisanship" and "new politics" coming out of this administration will eventually drive me insane. Old "dogmas" and "political arguments" exist because people have genuine disagreements about fundamental issues. They can't be wished away by a wave of "change and hope." Either people have principles or they don't. If they do they will have dogmatic arguments. The key to governing is convincing enough of America that your dogma is better than the other.
Finally, this was the greatest disappointment in the address. Unfortunately it wasn't unexpected:
"...in the words of Scripture..."
"...the God-given promise..."
"This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny."
"...and God's grace upon us..."
The last eight years gave us more than enough mixing of religion and politics. Please keep your god out of my statehouse.
In the end, the party is almost over, and its time for President Obama to lead. Please deliver the "Change We Can Believe In."
I desperately want my vote to be proven wrong.