Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Thoughts

I will admit, I'm a bit sick of all the hoopla surrounding today's inauguration. Still, I find myself plonked on the couch watching the parade on C-SPAN (since they don't talk over the bands). It is an oddly compelling spectacle.

The first inauguration that I had any interest in was Bill Clinton's first in 1993. Part of that was because I had just turned 18 about 15 months prior and so that was the first election in which I voted. I even did some exceptionally low level volunteer work for Bubba's campaign in Morgantown. It also helped that during the actual mid afternoon festivities I didn't have class and could give my full attention to it.

What struck me most about that event was how orderly and regimented it was. This was a time, remember, when the fall of the Iron Curtain was still of very recent vintage and it wasn't at all clear that the fledgling democracies in the Eastern Bloc were going to make it. Against that backdrop, the orderly and completely as-given handover of power was really moving. Even more so because, unlike this year, the person relinquishing power was defeated straight up by the person taking the oath. Such things just don't happen in lots of places around the globe.

As for today's events . . .

I thought Obama's speech was good, if short on particulars. I thought when he went into the bit about not sacrificing our ideals for security that he was going to turn to Duhbya and shoot daggers from his eyes. I appreciated the references to science, "data and statistics," and the shout out to non-believers. Still an awful lot of god talk, tho' (and, damn, isn't Warren a long winded dude?).

Chief Justice Roberts chumped the oath, which is both amusing and a little scary given his role in the world. Of course, he chumped the Fourth Amendment last week, so maybe we should have seen it coming.

Nice to see some drum corps taking part in the parade. I've seen Colts and the Cadets so far. Given Obama's from Illinois, maybe Phantom Regiment is involved? Apparently not. Another musical note, "The Final Countdown" is not appropriate parade material!

I came to federal court in 2002, well into Duhbya's reign. So every time I've gone to court to represent a client against the "United States of America," it's been Duhbya's government. It's not any more. I've never had a guy I voted for on the "other" side.

It's a new era. I hope it's a better one. Let's not blow it.

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