Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just the end of the beginning

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)

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