Having spent three cold mornings on 'the Mall' witnessing inaugurations in person (one with youthful optimism, one with already chastened disappointment, one with a sense of palpable discomfort...I'll let you figure out which was which) it was with a curious jumble of feelings that I watched today's event on a small (and often interrupted...clogged tubes, no doubt) window on my computer screen.
Other than the fascinating experience of viewing a parade of American political elites wander onto the stage (my, how frail does the elder Bush look? And how hale the Mondales and Carters!) there is some strange combination, I must note, of appalling and stirring in inauguration ceremonies.
It's perhaps the odd mixture of grandiose empire and humble republic that is uniquely American.
I must confess to a busy confluence of emotions today, most of which I want to keep to myself.
But, to put it briefly: a bit too much of the Almighty, but, all things considered, a very inspiring beginning, the kind of thing that makes one clutch one's passport with a sincerity not usually felt.
Much of the rest of the administration is going to be engaged in grubby politicking; but, you know, that's the nature of a republic, and I hope that President Obama proves he has the mettle for making headway in that game. Still, the guidelines set today were, as far as I could hear them, quite a good beginning.
Enough prologue. Let's get down to business.
(Image via the Washington Post)