For some reason that I’m still not sure of, I’ve always been a big fan of the inaugurations of the US Presidents. I remember as a kid, I taped the inauguration of President George H. Bush so that I could watch it after I got back from school. Today, was no different but instead of a VCR, I used the power of the Internets to watch President Barack Obama get sworn into office. The above video is of him taking the oath of office and his speech immediately afterwards. I thought his remarks were great but certain parts of it stuck out in my opinion:
“We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.”
“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”
“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”
Each of these excerpts were essentially a direct criticism of the previous administration’s actions or lack thereof. The first was clearly a comment on the massive decline in science as a priority in the Bush government. From stem cells to intelligent design to global warming, look for the Obama White House to be lab coat friendly.
The second excerpt was a criticism of the loss of personal rights and freedoms suffered by US citizens, all in the name of being “safe”. Whether or not the Patriot Act gets changed remains to be seen but it’s clear that folks in the US might get a bit of dignity back.
The last comment was no doubt a direct comment on Iraq. To use an awful quote, it’s so nice knowing that the guy in charge now understands that “with great power comes great responsibility”. Maybe America will stop acting like a schoolyard bully now.
The great thing is that while President Obama was saying his remarks, just several feet behind him was the dude he was essentially taking to task for doing it wrong for eight years. When the camera was on Dubya during the speech I thought that was a priceless moment.
The last thing I’ll mention about the inauguration was how different it was compared to Dubya’s in 2000 and 2004. For each of those, there was tremendous ill will by many citizens in Washington. Organizers had to set up designated protest zones to accomodate those opposed to Dubya. He was booed both years during the parade and each time, people tried throwing things at his limo. In stark contrast, there was an overwhelming feeling of hope and happiness today. It’s good when the people of America get what they deserve.