Dreams and Better Angels
Riding on his eyes,” Ricki Lee Jones, “Juke Box Fury”
It’s hard not to gag at the excess of hype and attention preceeding today's inauguration. My throat reflex moment came when someone on Sports Center compared Barack Obama’s run for the presidency with the Cardinal’s run for the Super Bowl. Enough already.
No more coins, either. Please.
I have to consciously dig through the rubble of praise and opportunism to get down to the truths that propel this excess. This is an extraordinary moment. The fortuitous coincidence that Martin Luther King Day immediately precedes this inauguration has underscored just how historic the election of Obama is. It has also had the fortunate side effect of making MLK Day a true memorial to King. Tributes that seem dutiful in most years have a far greater resonance in this year. The fulfillment of one dream seems a bit closer today.
Now Obama has to make a speech. Some people are expecting a cross between John Kennedy’s “Ask Not” with Abraham Lincoln’s “Better Angels and Franklin Roosevelt’s rejection of fear. Those are tough acts to follow. He has shown the skill to equal them, but whether his words ring down in history will not depend on the eloquence and truth in those words.
The success of this speech and of his presidency will hinge on the nation’s economy and on his handling of crises both known and unforeseen. It will hinge on the intelligence of his advisors and even more on his capacity to weigh their strengths and weaknesses. It will hinge on the spirit of the populace and Obama's capacity to touch what is good in it. It will hinge on luck, always remembering that luck favors the prepared, but not by much.
Still, despite the the wall-to-wall hype and the outsized expectations, I look forward to this moment. I look forward to it for the good that his election has already accomplished and in the hope that his administration helps America to listen to the “better angels of our nature.” I also hope that Americans (including myself) remember over the next few years that all any person can do is act “with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right." May we remember in humility and mercy that the vision of no human is perfect but that, despite our limitations, we still have the obligation to do what good that we can.
comments powered by Disqus
mary lili jory - 8/16/2009
I like very much the writings and pictures and explanations in your adress so I look forward to see your next writings.
In the present lively world, food and clothing put on the line in our life have already to obtain the sublimation, life needs the entertainment, in the market shoe's design is all kinds, Women is Dakota and Sundance UGG Boots were the riotous multi-colors, each kinds of color and design are finitely looks like the young women's hairstyle , every day them use the ghd Hair Straightener to changes themself hairstyle,when went out they brought MP3 to wear the fashion to symbolize that Bose in ear headphones and Bose on ear headphones ,let us feel the fashionable news of life.
People to enjoy music, a need for a high-quality sound equipment to show the moving melody to enhance the music quality of life,It is the use of bose headphones.Now bose headphones for sale in hot.
- Rise of Donald Trump Tracks Growing Debate Over Global Fascism
- Tales of African-American History Found in DNA
- History Celebrates New Show Roots With Project to Digitize Post-Slavery Documents
- In 1453, this Ottoman sultan ended Christian rule in Constantinople. But was he a good Muslim?
- Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation among documents sold for $6.2m in New York
- History Relevance Campaign meets at the Smithsonian
- Bernard Lewis Turns 100
- David Lowenthal, author of "The Past Is a Foreign Country,” says it’s folly to scratch the names of slaveholders off buildings
- Jean Edward Smith, biographer of FDR and Ike, has a new biography coming out … of George W. Bush
- Flora Fraser, biographer of George and Martha Washington, wins $50,000 George Washington Prize