I didn’t post my reactions to Barack Obama’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 speech’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 – liberty, justice, and opportunity for all.

That sounds simple. But I think, yesterday, it was that simple. I’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 we’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.

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