Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration a cause for celebration -- however you voted in November

Judging from the way it works, or doesn't, in other countries around the world, a near-miracle will take place tomorrow in Washington D.C. when Barack Obama takes the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States: Once again executive power will be peacefully transferred in the United States.

This is not a partisan screed against the outgoing Occupant. Yes, here in Illinois, surely among the bluest of Blue States, I've seen bumper stickers since 2004 that said, simply, "1.20.09." These were proudly displayed on their cars by American citizens who hated and feared George Bush. There are many places around the globe where persons who hate and fear their leaders -- but in all too many countries they have no assurance that their rumpot, crackpot, or tinpot dictator will ever leave, except when carried away by death. To publicly advocate a change in government in those countries can lead to beatings, arrest, or even death. But here, in America, we know -- we know -- that Mr. Bush will lay down the burden of office tomorrow and Mr. Obama will pick it up. Handshakes will be exchanged, not blows.

King George III may have ended up crazy, but he was pretty sage when he said that, if George Washington voluntarily surrendered power, Washington would be the greatest man in the world. And Washington did it twice: First, when he stepped down from command of the Continental Army, which surely would have made him King (or, perhaps, Dictator -- the old Roman forms were appealing to our revolutionary generation and that word hadn't yet been forever altered by the 20th Century) and, later, after serving two terms as President. Every American school child should know by heart what Washington said to John Adams on the occasion of Adams' inauguration (but probably too few do): "I am fairly out and you are fairly in. Now we shall see who enjoys it the most."

Mr. Obama may have occasion to recall those words in the days and weeks ahead.

But that can (probably) wait for Wednesday. Tomorrow, I hope, they'll be watching in Zimbabwe, in Venezuela, in Egypt, in Belarus, in North Korea....

5 comments:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i have nothing to say. for once. sigh...

smiles, bee
tyvc

Shel said...

You've done it again. And you are correct..whatever side of the fence you're on, you have to admire the peaceable transfer of power. This is a concept that very few nations have grasped.

Anonymous said...
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Hilda said...

The peaceful transition of power is, IMO, one of the things that make this country great.

Sarge Charlie said...

Maybe it is just good old American Pride, but I think we are the greatest that has ever been......