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Inaugural Snippets
"...we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents."

1. Note the really glorious avoidance of sexist language there. Obama's very smooth about this particular aspect of language. (There's some "founding fathers" later on, but overall quite good.)
2. The quickest way to my withered little patriotic heartstrings is to quote or paraphrase bits out of the Preamble to the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, or pretty much anything Thomas Jefferson ever said.

"These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics."

Data and statistics! Data and statistics! ::jumps up and down::

"We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."

I get this really comforting sense, overall, that the grown-ups are in charge now.

"...all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

There's that famous documents thing again. This is a beautiful echo.

"Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."


"...we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."


"And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more....
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect."

Or, when Kennedy said it in 1961:
"To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do -- for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom....
To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required -- not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history."

This is an excellent definition. There was this whole theme through the speech of change as an agent in service of old values, of progress in a direction set hundreds of years ago, of America as a vector rather than a static point. I liked it.

Phrases I expect to hear again:
* "remaking America"
* "every willing heart"
* "our patchwork heritage"
* "the price and the promise of citizenship"
* "that great gift of freedom"

Phrase the crowd didn't seem to respond to as well as I would have expected, so I may not hear again as much as I'd like:
* "a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous"

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Wasn't it beautiful? *happy sighs* Whenever anyone starts praying I've got this instinct to bow my head, turn up my palm, and pray. So after the cermony, one of my co-workers said that she was surprised that I had prayed with Warren. My response was that I hadn't been praying with him, I'd been praying at the same time with my own thoughts.

She also noted that during Lowry's prayer, I was nodding my head and rocking in the seat. I laughed and said, "Well, I /am/ from the south you know." They're lucky I was able to restrain myself from throwing my hands in the air and Amening.

I actually only watched Obama's speech and the swearing-in, not the prayers. Were they interesting? Should I go look up transcripts?

(The speech was on the Xbox when we got home... all our electronic devices do something other than you'd expect: the DVD player is only for hooking everything to the same set of speakers; movies play on the Xbox; the computer is pretty much just for music; it's weird.)

Warren's prayer wasn't, but yes I would recommend watching Lowery's (The trascript is great, but the delivery was brilliant).


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 -- (laughter) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (laughter) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (laughter) -- and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.
REV. LOWERY: Say amen --
REV. LOWERY: -- and amen.
AUDIENCE: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)

Hmm. That probably wasn't the best source to link to, it's just the first one I found. But it's probably indicative of at least some of the reaction. I found it wonderful and moving. Other's were /very/ offended.

Time has some interesting thoughts on the religious aspects. http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2009/01/20/say-amen/

My favorite being "Joseph Lowery just made everyone forget about Rick Warren. And in a good way."

Warren's prayer was milquetoast theology delivered in as bland and inoffensive a fashion as he could muster. Asking forgiveness without asking for guidance back to the right path is chickenshit. Recognizing the difficulty of getting to where the right path is at least gives teeth to the concepts, and that is part of where Lowery just shone.

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