Inauguration Day 2009: Revisited
Here's what I wrote four years ago.
We rejoice today, for at long last, the fires of Mordor have been quenched, and the evil intentions of The Empire have been thwarted. How bright is that light that signals a new dawn, where Jupiter has finally aligned with Mars, and Starbucks lattes, thick with the foam of freedom, are but one thin dime, freeing us from yet another burden that had long dragged down our inherent optimism.
If I seem a bit giddy, it's just that I'm overwhelmed by emotions today, as I confront the reality of an historic occasion. I mean, really, who ever thought we'd see the day when Arizona would make it to the Super Bowl? *rimshot*
OK. I'm just funnin' you; I'm not that big a fan of the Cardinals (although I am a Kurt Warner fan). And, yeah, the frenzy over today's presidential inauguration has pegged the Hype-O-Meter at eleven. But, you know what? I like it. I'm thrilled that once again, America has the opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the world how a free people carries out a significant transition of power at the highest levels of government. I'm ecstatic that politicians are "reaching across the aisle" in a spirit of cooperation and mutual commitment to the common good...however fleeting this phenomenon may be. I'm proud of the fact that at a very real level, we as a nation have seemed to finally put behind us a barrier to opportunity that at one time seemed insurmountable. And regardless of the cynicism that invariably dogs the sentiment, I'm buoyed by the hope that free people of good will can work together to further strengthen an already strong nation, and that our shining light on the hill can burn even brighter.
I'm sure it's no surprise that I didn't vote for Barack Obama, and I strongly disagree with many of his apparent policies. But I've seen nothing to indicate that he's not a man of honor, and I've been impressed with the way he's comported himself in the days since the election. I want to believe that he'll continue to move toward a centrist view on many important issues facing our country, and I've always believed that a nation with the diversity of ours is best served by such a view, regardless of the party in power at any given time.
So I do face today with the optimism of a new start, but also with a bit of cautionary advice. To those who look to the government as the source of their contentment and happiness, my warning is to be prepared for disappointment. If the best you have is the reliance on human beings to do the right thing on your behalf, I guarantee that you'll find it to be temporary, at best. We as a species are just not cut out for the job, and however superior our form of government may be, it's still energized by humans and thus prone to jumping the tracks at every inopportune moment.
So, am I a cynic after all? It's OK if you think so, but I don't. I prefer to think that I'm a realist. My true optimism...my true hope...comes from a Higher Source, one that transcends elections and political parties and all the oh-so-temporary things we seem to think are so important during this portion of our lives. And so it's very easy for me to wrap this up with this sincere wish for the day, and the days ahead: may God bless President Obama, and may God continue to bless America.
If that doesn't prove that I'm a moron, nothing will. The only prescient portion of that post addressed the uniqueness of the Arizona Cardinals making it to the Super Bowl (and even they lost that year). [By the way, I take little solace in the fact that many of you agreed with me at the time; your comments mercifully disappeared into the ether when the Gazette was rolled out in a shiny new wrapper not long after the preceding post.]
President Obama has been consistent in his ability to disappoint me in almost every fact of his administration. In my opinion, as a nation we're more polarized than ever, Obama is less centrist than ever, Congress is less effective than ever, and his administration has made our Constitution less relevant than ever. He's made it clear in word and deed, time and again, that he holds in contempt some of the values that are most important to me. The federal government is now more confiscatory and intrusive than ever before, and if Obama is not directly to blame, he's at least the poster child for the changes. The highlight of Inauguration Day 2013 is that it marks the beginning of the end of his term and I pray that we can somehow survive the next four years with our liberties intact.
Four years older and, I hope, four years wiser, and my prayer now is simply, "have mercy on us, O Lord, for we are a people of unclean hands and unclean lips."