America has been traumatized by the dark depressing cloud of immorality and dishonesty in the cause of self-centered greed coupled with utter indifference to the needs of the 90% of Americans worth less than a few million that defined the Bush era. As this perversion of and assault on American values passes into the dust bin of history, a new era began today.
Today marks the end of the age of ignorance and callous indifference. And Americans rejoiced, as did millions around the world.
The countdown clock in the sidebar reads all zeros. Millions of people around the world, most particularly myself, who has struggled long and hard to cope with and outlast what I knew would be a disasterous administration literally since the day it began, since the day this obviously unqualified flawed pretender was installed into office by a vote of 5 to 4.
I sometimes despaired tht this day would ever come, or if it would come too late. It did come. At long last. Today.
The past is gone, though the damage the radical Republicans and Bush have left in their wake will take generations to repair, and in some cases can never be undone. This is a fact that the world will have to deal with. Nothing like this passes without leaving scars. Like thousands upon thousands of youths who, seeing us slaughter their families, destroy their homes and towns, who now will carry a seething hatred for our country for the rest of their lives. And no one can blame them.
Cheney was in a wheelchair, looking like some aging Mafia Don being wheeled into a courthouse. A creepier looking villian couldn't be found in central casting.
Is it wrong that this shot conjures up the image of Cheney bouncing down the steps out of control in the wheelchair while loudly uttering gutteral half grunts, half quacks ala The Penguin? "Whaan! Whaaaaan! Whan, Whan,Whan!!" Just in a cartoony way, of course.
Obama was bamboozled by Chief Justice John Roberts when Roberts managed to screw up the 36 word presidential Oath of Office.
The Obama girls, as always, looked cute as buttons and well dressed, and it was fun to see Malia snapping shots on her digital camera before and after the ceremony.
Obama had said that during the family's visit to the Lincoln Memorial the day before the inaugural, that after reading Lincoln's immortal words carved into the walls there, Malia had turned to her dad and said, "Wow. Your speech better be good!".
After her dad delivered his address, the first person he turned to was Malia, and you can plainly read her lips as she looks up at him and says, "That was a good speech.", to which Obama responded with his remarkable smile.
And amazingly, on the day when bi-partisanship and unity was the order of the day, Supreme Court justice Sam Alito was actually childish and petty enough to not attend the inauguration at all, apparently miffed because Obama and Biden voted against his nomination to the court.
I ask, just how small a person do you have to be to pull something like that on an occassion for all Americans? And of course, from a conservative in a high position which is required to be strictly non-partisan, neutral, and apolitical. What a collossal jerk.
Hmmm. Wonder if they're all that small. Maybe Roberts, whom Obama voted against as well, thought it would be cute to screw Obama up on the oath? Nah!
Rev. Rick "Being gay is comparable to bestiality and pedophilia" Warren from Brokeback Church gave his forgetable little prayer, enjoying world-wide exposure he never should have been afforded.
Aretha, The Queen of Soul, did her thing singing "America the Beautiful", and Itzhak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, pianist and clarinetist Anthony McGill performed a very moving piece written for the occasion by John Williams which I thought was great.
But aside from Obama's address, in my opinion, the highlight of the entire ceremony was the benediction given by the legendary 87 year old civil rights veteran Rev. Joseph Lowrey. (Transcript below)
And it looks like you can take the guy out of Chicago, but you can't take the Chicago out of the guy... at least when the guy is Rahm Emmanual.
Here's a shot of him on the platform prior to Obama's arrival.
Unfortunately, the caption didn't provide the target of his nose thumbing, but it appears as though it's entirely in jest.
The crowd thumbed it's collective noses at Bush, and a massive low hum of boos greeted his introduction. The crowd was studded with signs reading "Arrest Bush", "See ya!", and at the mention of his name by TV talking heads, those around their location spontaneously broke into choruses of "Nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, good bye!". One of my favorite signs delivered the mesesage to those who've mislead our country for the past decades, "We are the deciders."
People? There were a few that braved the cold, the restrictive security lines. No one complained. When you're really, REALLY happy, nothing much bothers you.
Leave your impressions of the Inaugural ceremonies. What did you like, dislike? What struck you or made an impression?
Here we see some scary Republicans (including Sen. Nosferatu, R-Transylvania) emerging from The Crypt. (Yep, at least that's what the sign in the upper left says. Click to enlarge.) The other two undead Republicans are unable to open their eyes in the glaring light of day.
Benediction of Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery:
God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far along the way
Thou who has by thy might lead us into the light
Keep us forever on the path we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places our God where we met thee
Lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee
Shadows beneath our hand, may we forever stand
True to thee oh God, and true to our native land
We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day
We pray now oh Lord for thy blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family, and his administration.
He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and indeed, global fiscal climate.
But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.
Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.
For we know that Lord you're able, and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these, and from favoritism towards the rich, the elite of these.
We thank you for the empowering of our servant, our 44th president to inspire our nation to believe that YES WE CAN work together to achieve a more perfect union.
And while we have sown the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness, and we come in the spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn too each other, and not on each other.
And now lord in the complex arena of human relations help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate, on the side of inclusion, not exclusion, tolerance, not intolerance.
And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.
Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, wherever we seek your will.
Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle, look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.
We go now to walk together children pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know that you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power, and your heart of love.
Help us then now Lord to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.
When justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back. When brown can stick around. When yellow will be mellow. And when the red man can get ahead, man. And when white will embrace what is right.
Let all those who do justice and love mercy say AMEN.