It’s the morning after the Obama inauguration, and I’m left with a lot of mixed feelings, including relief that the prolonged and expensive celebration of the 44th American male’s ascendance to the presidency is over.
As I’ve said before, my hope is grounded in the daily practice of spiritual disciplines, not in the promises of a charismatic politician. Consequently, the media’s deification of our newly sworn-in president, Barack Obama, and the idolatrous worship of his millions of true believers has been a disturbing part of his rise to power.
Nevertheless, for the sake of the country and the rest of the world, I wish Obama well.
A few random observations from yesterday’s events:
1. Watching CBS during the opening ceremonies, I was offended for the umpteenth time by a guest commentator, whose name I don’t remember, hastening to remark that Obama’s appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state was evidence of the One’s outstanding self-confidence - as if Clinton’s well-earned prestige and superior qualifications in foreign policy matters had nothing to do with it.
Since Clinton’s pick as head of the state department was first announced, our sexist punditry has universally felt compelled to make sure she knows her place – comparable to that of a subservient spouse – in relationship to Obama.
2. Speaking of Hillary, I noticed that as the arrival of dignitaries were announced, the crowd gave her and Bill a rousing welcome.
3. As Obama moved through each event yesterday, I was once again struck by his apparent emotional detachment. His “radiant” smiles appeared on cue, like someone accustomed to being photographed too often. And I definitely got the impression of a man going through motions he had often rehearsed, well before his party handed him its nomination.
Could it be that it was Barack Obama who believed he was entitled to the presidency - not Hillary Clinton?
4. At the conclusion of Obama’s inaugural speech, which seemed rather perfunctory to me, I was aware that it would not take its place among the great ones of our nation’s history. And for once, I seemed to be in agreement with the punditry and the usual garrulous historians appearing on network TV throughout the rest of the day.
5. The announcement yesterday that Sen. John Cornyn had blocked the vote on Hillary’s nomination to secretary of state should have surprised no one. Of course his objection had nothing to do with her, but was related to Bill’s foundation. I’ve been well aware that ever since Hillary’s New Hampshire win, the shocked and embarrassed media, who had already been calling for her to drop out of the race, turned its wrath on Bill, thereafter, presenting negative caricatures of the former president throughout the remainder of the primary. Attacking Bill has continued to be a favorite weapon of Hillary’s misogynist adversaries in their unrelenting attempts to tear her down.
You'll notice that no other candidate's spouse was as vilified as Bill was.
6. Not having posted yesterday, I was surprised by the spike in traffic to Katalusis. When I examined my stats closely, I discovered the spike resulted mainly from searches pertaining to the Rev. Joseph Lowery who concluded his benediction with an inappropriate ditty, which some have considered racist:
“We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right,”
My impression of the aging civil rights leader’s rhyme is that it’s characteristic of what I’ve observed during the 2008 presidential campaign: African-Americans seem to consider the discrimination they’ve suffered worse and consequently of greater importance than that of any other group.
Those who Googled Lowery yesterday and a few yet today found my earlier post in which I linked to a NY Times column by Bill Kristol that quoted a comment Lowery once made regarding homosexuals: “They’ve never been enslaved and declared less than human.”
In my post I responded: “Never been declared less than human? There are obvious gaps in both Kristol’s and Rev. Lowery’s knowledge of history,” and I referred them to the web site of the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum.
7. My regular readers know how dismayed I was during the Democratic primary by the barely concealed contempt frequently shown to Hillary Clinton by the troika of Jim Lehrer, David Brooks, and Mark Shields at PBS. Last night, I swallowed my pride and tuned in to catch their analysis of the day’s events. Much to my surprise, Mark Shields mentioned other firsts at the Obama inauguration, naming several prominent female participants, including Diane Feinstein.
You could see that Shields even succeeded in shocking Jim Lehrer by bringing up the historical fact that it was Lyndon Johnson who rammed through the civil rights legislation initiated by his predecessor. Remember during the primary when the Obama camp and the lemming-like media pilloried Hillary Clinton for citing the historical fact that it took both MLK and LBJ to get that important legislation passed?
Again, I wish the Obama Administration well as it gears up to face the monumental challenges facing the nation and the world. President Obama will have many reasons in the coming days to thank God for having Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at his side on the international stage.