The night Barack Obama won the election, he gave one of the most inspiring victory addresses I ever heard.
The day Barack Obama was inaugurated president of the United States, he gave one of the least inspiring inaugural addresses I have ever heard.
Even the estimated 2 million people who came to see the man they revere and to celebrate the inauguration of the first black president of the United States, cheered few times. There was almost nothing to cheer. The address was largely a downer. Even if America is in as desperate a condition as the new president believes it is, the moment called for something uplifting.
As a politically moderate friend of mine said to me, the speech was joyless.
And when it wasn’t joyless, it was often either incoherent or disjointed or factually wrong.
That is not to say nothing good was said. There were some fine thoughts, delivered in Barack Obama’s effective manner.
So let’s honor the good:
“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.” We may differ on how greatness is earned but this point cannot be stated too often.
“For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh.” It is a joy to hear, finally, a man of the left include the Vietnam War in the list of the good wars America has fought.
“…to all other peoples and governments…know that America is…ready to lead once more.” You have to wonder how the Democratic Left reacts to a call to America to lead -- isn’t that American exceptionalism?
“…for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.” Hurrah! Given that the “T-word” was not mentioned in the Democratic presidential debates, it was nice to hear it in the inaugural address.
Now to some platitudes:
“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear …” It is time to retire this Democratic Party platitude. No one invokes fear as much as the left does. Beyond Islamic terror, it’s hard to identify a right-wing fear. But the left’s list has been almost endless: racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, heterosexual AIDS, secondhand smoke, global warming, just to name a few.