China Jubilee

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Thoughts on the Inauguration January 22, 2009

Filed under: Internet — missjubilee @ 2:08 pm
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This year I watched the inauguration of President Obama and Vice President Biden online, via CNN and Facebook.  The two companies teamed up, so that Facebook users could watch a good-quality streaming video on the left, and on the right see the status updates of any friends who were also online (or of everyone watching on Facebook, but that wasn’t as interesting to me).  The result was like being in a kind of chat room with friends and strangers alike – not only were friends posting their status and commenting on mine, but friends of friends that I didn’t know would comment on my friends’ status updates.  It was a very strange form of interaction with very-current-events for me, here halfway across the world and not always good at keeping up with current events.  I also had a text chat window open with my mother on Skype as she watched it on the TV at home.  Below are some of my thoughts, from what I and my friends typed that night, and what I didn’t have time to type but went back later over a transcript of President Obama’s speech and jotted down.

– – –

Lily is watching the inauguration on cnn/facebook. God bless America.

Melissa wonders if this is the first time we’ve ever had a president with a vowel at the end of his name?
There followed THIRTY comments, naming the four presidents who had vowels at the end of their family names and discussing whether to count silent “e”s, when to consider “y” a vowel, and which presidents’ names started with a vowel.

I wonder how many people will be watching the State of The Union address this time next year.

Woah! Since when does the US have royal heralds?

Chelsea… the Bush twins… now Mr Obama’s girls… the last pres with a son, the son became pres.

How sad for Cheney to go out in a wheelchair.  Oh, well, at least he’s good about following his doctor’s orders.

Strange how friendly they are after that nasty campaign last fall.  It’s good, but it makes me wonder what’s real?

[2009-1-21 0:42:01] Anderson Family says: Did you just see Sarah B wheeling Cheney out???
[2009-1-21 0:42:19] L Anderson says: oh, missed it.  I saw him in the wheelchair earlier, tho
At this point I saw that it was my COUSIN, Sarah C, nee B, who was pushing him!  She’s an army nurse attached to the White House, but it hadn’t occurred to me to look for her today

[2009-1-21 0:42:45] L Anderson says: OH!!!!!!
[2009-1-21 0:44:47] L Anderson says: yeah, saw her!

[2009-1-21 0:45:13] L Anderson says: I was thinking “B” like “Bush” and wondering which of his daughters went by the name “Sarah” when I saw you type that 😀
And then I went on to tell everyone I could possibly think of to look quick, my cousin was on CNN!

Sharra : HA, didn’t want to say Hussein did they?
Lily: Hm, did they say “HW” and “W” for the Bushes?
Sharra: They totally said “Walker” for Bush. Totally.
Rochelle: yeah they said the whole name for the others.
Lily: hm, *tsk tsk* or *LOL*… dunno which
Marcie: I am sure it was topic of serious discussion among all the political geniuses.

Wow, Rick Warren again.  I remember watching the interviews he had with the candidates last fall.  I wasn’t completely taken with either of them by the end – at one point or another they both went off on whatever they wanted to say instead of giving answers that might feel honestly to answer the question.  Still, compared to the debates that came later, it was much more on-topic, if I remember correctly, and much less negative.

Hm, Rev. Warren mentioned Israel.  I wonder if our policy will change about them at all now?

Where is the balance between being glad that an African American won, and treating him like everyone else (which is, after all, the ideal, isn’t it?  NOT to treat him differently in any way because of his race?)  The way the Rev mentioned it didn’t sound right to me, oh well.

[2009-1-21 0:59:45] L Anderson says: “…even when we differ.” amen!
[2009-1-21 1:00:14] L Anderson says: “all nations and all people!” preach it, brother!
[2009-1-21 1:02:53] Anderson Family says: How about that invocation?!  Preach it, brother.
Tee hee!  I am my mother’s daughter!

Um, wow, that’s a big bow, Aretha!

“support and defend the Constitution of the United States”
hm… OK, I will resist the urge to be sarcastic or cynical and will instead hope for the best.

Yay, John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma, and Itzhak Perlman!

“so help me God.” Amen!

This is how Kirk would read poetry.

hm, was that poetry in the benediction? ah, I see, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

“to turn to each other, and not on each other” – yes!

“our ch’es, our temp’ls, our mosks, wherever we seek your will”  hm, I’d like to hear a good ><> the-logical take on that sentiment.

“My Country ‘Tis of Thee…” – Standing and singing along, hoping that I don’t wake my neighbors at 2am.

– – –

The speech.

Quotes from the speech taken from, posted within minutes after his speech was delivered.

Take this as coming from someone whose opinion of President-Elect Obama was not particularly positive, but who has decided to, while still being somewhat wary, give him a chance and see what he will do.  I know all my friends who were weeping with joy as he took the oath of office and delivered this speech will feel that’s still a rather harsh outlook, but hey, folks, just try to remember how you probably felt when President Bush was elected or re-elected.  And don’t take short comments like “great” as sarcastic, they’re meant sincerely unless otherwise noted.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
well, that was big of him.  I suppose anyone would say that in a speech like this, but it’s still a nice gesture.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.
Ahem.  Grover Cleveland was elected twice, he was both #22 and #24.  So only 43 have taken it.  Nit-picking, I know, but shouldn’t a professional political speech-writer get such details right?

the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
eloquently put. when did people stop arguing whether global warming was really happening and start arguing about how to solve it?  or are a significant number of people still saying it’s a myth?  just curious; I know HE’s not going to say it’s a myth

Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
sounds like something Palin said in the VP debate, just a lot more eloquent when Obama says it.

we have chosen hope over fear
sound byte! (and, yes, let’s do that.)

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
I’m all for that, shall we burn all copies of the debates for a starter?

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.
geez, what about, say, the “earlier generations [that] faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions,” to quote from the part of your speech that was censored here in China. Not such childish accomplishments, I’d say.

to choose our better history

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
beautiful.  is that the better history you talked of?  ’cause I don’t think they were all thinking of us when they did it.  more likely their own hungry bellies and hopes and ambitions and, yes, their children and grandchildren… but us and the country? yeah, some, but did most of “the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things” work for that?  just sayin’…
I like how you mentioned more than just the initial European settlers, though.  it’s rather UNsettling to my standardized view of history, but that’s good for me.
And I had to look up Khe Sahn (it’s in Vietnam, if anyone else is wondering).  I always like to learn something!

our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year.
*cough* yeah, but how much junk do we make and sell and buy that’s NOT needed?  probably a lot… well, I suppose China makes most of it, but we were the ones buying it with our “disposable” income

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
I agree.  I just hope most people have already started doing that and weren’t waiting for this speech to tell them so.

We will restore science to its rightful place
which is…?

We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.
Why does this remind me of Umbridge’s start-of-term speech?

a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.
true that!

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
Um, I’d rather it was out of charity than self-interest.  Wouldn’t you?

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.
Now try and do it.  I wish you success with all my heart.  Just don’t know if it’s possible in this crazy world.  Not that I support torture and tapped phones, I don’t at all, I just don’t know if anyone is capable of finding a perfect balance.  Love’s the only answer I know of, and I don’t think that’s the basis of our government.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
Yup.  Totally.  In an ideal world, and often in this one, too!

for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
I don’t know about the earlier part of this paragraph, but this part at least I like.  I’ll leave the rest alone.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
wow.  what a picture he paints.  give that speech-writer a raise!

know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.
I love that sentiment.  And it’s just in time for yet another anniversary of Roe v Wade – let’s be a nation the builds life, and not one that destroys it!

at this moment – a moment that will define a generation
wow, it might at that.  Is it just the media hype, or is this really like Kennedy for the new generation?  And how can we know what the Kennedy time was really like since we just have the “Camelot” myth and never actually experienced it?  I wish there really was such a thing as completely truthful, unbiased reporting.

also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child,
nice inclusion.  and very true!

What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
much as I hate the implication that we have ditched all those values – you’re painting everyone with the same broad brush, not fair or nice – you’ve got a point that we have to seize our duties gladly, put forth some more effort, and jump into a difficult task.  I think.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
sound byte!

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
what, now he’s a the-logian and an oracle?  are we getting into the openness of G in an inauguration speech?

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
how far we’ve come. 🙂

– – –

So, love it or hate it, that’s my take on the inauguration and the speech.  Add your thoughts in the comments!  (No flames, please.)


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