The Inaugural Address

Here’s the text. TPM has a video.

See response from Ta-nehisi Coates

Obama’s speech is different. To some extent it exposes people to new ideas. But to a greater extent, perhaps, it shows how movements which only a few years ago were thought to be on the run have, in at least one major party, carried the day. This is not a small thing.

Update: Interesting commentary from across the pond at The Guardian.

Update: Charles Pierce approves.

The speech was a bold refutation of almost everything the Republican party has stood for over the past 40 years. It was a loud — and, for this president, damned near derisive — denouncement of all the mindless, reactionary bunkum that the Republicans have come to stand for in 2013; you could hear the sound of the punch he landed on the subject of global warming halfway to Annapolis. But the meat of the speech was a brave assertion of the power of government, not as an alien entity, but as an instrument of the collective will and desires of a self-governing people.

Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm. That is our generation’s task, to make these works, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.

We are not free because we are individuals, the president told them, daring them to hold two ideas in their heads at a time without their brains leaking out of their ears. We are free because, as individuals we work together in the creative act of self-government to produce a viable political commonwealth in which that freedom can thrive and prosper, and the primary instrument of that commonwealth is the government we devise out of it. That government must be allowed to function. That government must be allowed to operate for this freedom to be generally achieved.

Progress does not compel us to settle century’s long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. For now, decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.

Firearm Appreciation 2.0

The Los Angeles Times has photos of Saturday’s gun appreciation day. This one’s my favorite. (What is it with wingnuts and spelling? Oh, maybe the double Ms in “comming” and “ammendment” are for “milimeter.” This might be what passes for “clever” on the fringe.)

In comments, Justme mentioned a 20/20 segment on armed “good guy” citizens and mass shootings. I found the segment, “If I only had a gun,” online. It demonstrates why the would-be heroes probably wouldn’t be all that heroic, or effective.

Our recent troll, Katechon, who alternatively argued that all mass shootings take place in gun-free zones and that armed citizens are more effective at stopping “bad guy” shooters than police (odd, if all those shootings were in “gun-free zones”) is, of course, wrong. Mark Follman at Mother Jones claimed that not one mass shooting over the past 30 years was stopped by an armed “ordinary citizen.” The “gun people” came back with a list of shootings in which, they say, an armed citizen stopped the shooter. But in another article, Mark Follman went through the list and found that (1) the “citizen” actually was a law-enforcement or security professional or member of the military, off duty; or (2) the citizen didn’t stop the shooter while he was shooting, but followed and shot him while he was leaving the scene; or (3) the citizen was pumped full of bullets by the shooter, who was later apprehended by law enforcement.

Way to go, armed citizens!

There’s still a lot we don’t know about yesterday’s tragedy in Albuquerque, so I will withhold comment on that. Let’s just hope the Secret Service is doing its job at today’s inauguration festivities.