Inauguration Open Thread

I don’t plan to live blog, exactly, but I’m watching the festivities on television while I work on other things. So I might toss in a loose comment now and then.

Oh, wait, there’s Michelle in her inauguration dress. She looks gorgeous.

Well, comment away.

I didn’t watch either Bush inauguration on television. Can someone provide a comparison?

Update: “We are ready to lead once more.” With Shrub sitting there. Sweet.

Update: Enjoy.

Update: My favorite part of the speech:

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

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 question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

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. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

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.

This says so much that I’ve been saying and thinking the past several years.

10 thoughts on “Inauguration Open Thread

  1. I have blocked out any memories of Bush’s Inaugurations. Imagine that!

    This is glorious. The Obamas look splendid and the excitement is quite tangible. The crowds are huge and I’m hoping George Bush looks out and realizes for once that We the People are glad to see the back of him and his dreadful Presidency.

    Go, President Obama! Peace and strength be with you!

  2. Maybe it’s because I’m an old peacenik type, but the militaristic setting and tone of the event make me squirm. Imprinted in my brain are the old movie house news reels of goose-stepping German soldiers and automaton-like Nazi officers and government dignitaries saluting them as they paraded by.

    And we’ve been in some kind of war, hot or cold, ever since. Judging by the inaugural displays, it looks like some kind of war defines our future as well.

  3. I missed it live… will have to settle for the endless recaps this evening. I read the text of the speech… it appears to be quite honest (i.e., a bit of a downer).

    Ding Dong the Witch is Gone.

  4. I teach US History at a community college. We left class early, went over to the Student Center and watched the inauguration with other students. It was inspiring. Plus, now my students know who Aretha is. Worth it just to hear her. Obama was wonderful, stirring, and he set me up perfectly to talk about the Battle of Trenton tomorrow. I’ll probably pull out Tom Paine’s pamphlet that Obama referenced and read them a bit of it.

    Happy, happy, joy, joy, and more Aretha please.

  5. I thought about your theory that all good cheers require 3 syllables. In that respect, Obama has a good name, but Bush does not. So already, we’re ahead, right?

  6. Well, other than bouts of weeping on my end, it was a joyous occasion.

    There is something to love of country afterall. I have a thick volume, a history of my American family beginning in 1630 as part of the Massachusettes Bay Colony and continuing to and passed the birth of my grandfather in 1876. It’s a record of people who lived ordinary lives – and sometimes extraordinary people who lived extraordinary lives – but throughout it’s a record of how it was and what it was to live an American life.

    During the last eight years we seem to have lost that identity. If anyone can, I believe and hope that Barack can bring it back.

  7. I watched with a group at work, and even a couple of the avowed righties had tears in their eyes. What a moment.

    The CNN camera got Bush at one point during the speach, and he looked like he was sucking on lemons. Ha! Take that, war criminal.

  8. I thought it was great. I loved every word of it. It got me to thinking that maybe it would be best if Bush does get off the hook. Obama publicly repudiated Bush and all that he represents. The world now knows that America has washed its hands of Bush, and that’s the best we can hope for…Let the little rodent go off into ignominy.

  9. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

    This is one of the major points that righties cannot comprehend. It’s the core issue I’ve had with every single one of them, whether stated or not. I’m with you maha, Obama said things that have been on my mind for a very long time.

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