In the US, it is both Martin Luther King day and Obama's 2nd inauguration. In Canada, it is just a very cold day. No day off, so I missed the speech, Beyonce, and much twitter snark. Some complain that the event is too much like a coronation, but I don't mind because it really represents the peaceful transfer of power. Yes, Obama I to Obama II rather than Bush to Obama or whatever, but the potential was there last fall. And when there is a dispute, we litigate.
This day, because of Obama's previous emphasis on perfecting the union, reminds me of the preamble of the Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.When I read this, that this is the purpose of the Constitution and of American government, I think that the founders, for all of their sins, did have some good ideas. This document is really the thing that binds and unites Americans (white, black, red, blue), not despite but because it is subject to interpretation (thanks to an interpretation in 1803: Marbury vs. Madison if I remember correctly) and revision (amendments).
Today is as much a celebration of the Constitution as it is of this particular President. As a distant American, I am pretty proud today. Tomorrow, I can go back to whining about this and that.
I feel Obama accurately captured what makes us Americans:
"We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea..."
Having such a group of people bound together by nothing more than geography and a few simple philosophical precepts hasn't happened much in history. It's my favorite part of being an American.
Because, you know, it's not the student loan debt or healthcare.
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