I didnâ€™t post my reactions to Barack Obamaâ€™s inaugural address yesterday because I knew I could not be anything close to objective. I was moved by the occasion and caught up in the sense of hope (justified or not). I thought the speechâ€™s tone was an excellent blend of forcefulness and humility, of reaching back to our greatest successes while looking forward to what we yet can achieve. But I know I likely heard what I wanted to hear.
So, forget the speech for a moment. But also forget the cynicism. I think The Christian Science Monitor has the right take:
The diverse faces of the millions who came to witness the swearing in of the country’s first African-American president testify to what ultimately unifies. It’s not ethnicity or religious creed, which define so many nations, but the founding ideals of the United States â€“ liberty, justice, and opportunity for all.
That sounds simple. But I think, yesterday, it was that simple. Iâ€™m not concerned that I, like many others here and around the world, may have reacted more to the symbolism of the moment than to anything Obama said. I think weâ€™re allowed one day, in the midst of trying times, to remember, without the blemish of irony or distrust, what makes our nation great.
Now, the real work begins.