Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Tuesday

Today, the United States witnessed a transcending moment.
That this happens every eight years makes it no less unique or special.
For today, we saw the peaceful transfer of the office of President of the United States from one man to another, as we have seen in ordinary times and extraordinary times, from 1789 until now.


Today was an extraordinary time, as Barack Obama was sworn in as the first Black President of the United States, standing on the same Capital Mall as MLK did, when he said, "I have a dream . . ."

For many Americans, this is a dream fulfilled.
Tomorrow, Mr. Obama begins to govern.
Tomorrow, Americans will begin to argue about the wisdom of his government, the policies he proposes and the vision he works to make a reality.

Even that vision will be trasmuted from within and from without. From within, it will change as Mr. Obama confronts the realities that his administration must work within. From without, the change will come from the push-and-pull of politics, as through their representatives, the people of the United States demand to have their unique and diverse voices heard.
This is what our founders intended: not the efficiency of a well-oiled collective, but rather the push-and-pull of a government of, for, and by the people at work.

Tomorrow, where the rubber meets the road, Mr. Obama will begin to get the reality of the change: that his vision will not remain what it was as Candidate Obama.
Tomorrow, we will begin to pick apart the new President's policies. We will agree with some and vehemently disagree with others.

But for today, we have the satisfaction of taking pride in the Republic and in the enduring grace with which the Office of the Chief Executive is transfered. We saw it in 1789. We saw it twice in 1865. We saw it in 1974, when in the midst of division and scandal, a president resigned, and we could smile through our pain because our system worked.

Tomorrow, Mr. Obama must begin to earn our criticism and our compliments.

But for today, just for today, we can stop and rejoice in this peaceful transfer of power mandated by the Constitution.

Congratulations, President Obama.
Best Wishes to the United States.

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