We live in a country where the former leaders and the future leaders agree that the symbolism of unity is more important than their individual differences.
I admit to being a sucker for ritual (must be something about that Roman Catholic upbringing), but the ritual of our Inaugural Ceremony makes me want to stand up and cheer. I don't care about the parade and I have zero interest in the fancy balls tonight. Tomorrow, I hope the folks in Washington get up, take an aspirin for their hangovers and, then, get the hell to work.
Today, however, is a day for a huge national celebration. It is not a day of gloating about Obama's victory over the right-wing wackos who have tried to ruin our Country. It is also not a day of vindication for black folks who feel their time has finally come (although, I understand why they would feel that way). For me, Inauguration Day
in America is about celebrating America, regardless of who the guy (or woman) is whom we are inaugurating into office. The millions of people who gathered on America's Front Yard (aka "The Mall") stood in for the rest of us as witnesses to the symbolism and the ritual of the peaceful transition of power in a free country where the rule of law applies. It is about leadership elected by the majority of the led. It is about checks and balances and the balance of power. (Thank you Jimmy Madison!) Inauguration Day is America at its very, very, very best.
I have watched the inaugurations of Kennedy, Johnson (twice), Nixon (twice), Ford, Carter, Reagan (twice), Bush I, Clinton (twice), and Bush II (twice), and now Obama. Whether I liked the new president or not I have never failed to be moved by the fact that our country can transfer power in such a peaceful and orderly -- not to mention inspiring and beautiful -- manner. Yes, We Can!
Now, let's see if we can help our new president turn our ship of state in a new direction and get down to the business of digging ourselves out of the ditch his predecessor put us in.
Post Script: Extra special Kudos to Senator Feinstein for her effecient and professional service as the M.C.