Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And I have a New Commander in Chief

Congratulations, President Barack Hussein Obama! May your term be prosperous and successful.

But your work has just begun. Ultimately, the measure of a president is what he does during his term. Few people really remember what the president has done in the election campaign. I, for one, reserve judgement of Mr. Obama until November of 2012.

However, I think the inauguration ceremony was a good start. Obama's speech was extremely well written and delivered. It tied in very well to more famous documents, such as the Preamble to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independance, while still putting to rest concerns of the present. I find myself constantly impressed by Obama's oratory skills. The oath of office got fumbled though... But no one's perfect.

John Williams' composition, performed by some of the greatest instrumentalists in the world was just spectacular. Aretha Franklin delivered a powerful rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee". I wonder what the band is thinking when she stretches one word into a 45 second improv. Gah! There she goes again! The poem by Elizabeth Alexander was a little to disjointed for my tastes, but for those who like that sort of thing, it was a good choice. Two girls in New York made complete asses out of themselves during the National Anthem. Obama's children looked incredibly bored and restless, and Michelle had her hands full keeping them in line. Most importantly, Craig Robinson, the esteemed and honorable head basketball coach of Oregon State University, was right next to them, sporting the orange. You can't buy that kind of publicity! Let's see you do that Phil Knight! Reverend Warren's invocation was a little long and bland, while Reverend Lowery's benediction was too long, too hoaky, and quite frankly, offensive. I wish that it had ended on a better note.

One thing that I don't like however, is the assumption by the media that the country somehow changed overnight when Obama was elected. I heard it said that "This couldn't have happened yesterday." I disagree. The country hasn't changed simply because Obama has been elected. Obama got elected not because he was a good cadidate. I think America has been in a state where a black candidate could be elected for at least ten or fifteen years, the problem is that the black candidates who wanted the mantle were tools. Colon Powell would have been elected in a heartbeat, however, he declined to run. Al Sharpton, who did run, didn't have a chance of being elected. With candidates like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, America didn't refuse to elect a black candidate, they refused to elect a bad candidate. There is a difference, and it's one that too many people fail to recognize. If anything, that failure simply perpetuates the notion that skin color actually matters. It doesn't. Obama's successes and failures will be his own, as the 44th president, not the black president.

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