President Obama closed his remarks by quoting the father of our country George Washington, ordinarily an unremarkable borrowing, but in this context, at least a bit surprising, for the great Washington was also a slave-owner, and not one tortured by the institution in the way Jefferson was. Some of my conservative friends thought that the new president was too quick and perfunctory in his recognition of the departing President Bush, and a few more words addressed to him would have indeed been welcomed by the admirers of the 43rd president.
But it was remarkably gracious for the new president to summon the first president to the occasion of the completion of the work of Philadelphia in 1776. This does not mean, of course, that justice is established or that the human condition is closing in on the happiness we believe a perfected world would hold for all.
Only that in one country --the most powerful in all of human history-- there is no bar to anyone becoming its chief executive, no exception to the rule that all men and women are indeed created equal.