Posted by: Jim | January 20, 2009

What is Right with America

A group of more politically inclined gathered in the Network Operations Center at work today—knowing that they have CNN running 24X7. We all sat silently watching as Barack Obama placed his hand on the Lincoln bible and swore his oath of office. Without provocation, all of us burst into applause when he was done.

 

Prior to that I watched Rick Warren offer up a prayer to an imaginary god—something I found distressing. Thankfully he mentioned MANY imaginary gods—which removes the power of fear and superstition from the hands of a few, and hands it out to all. Hopefully this is a harbinger of an administration less bent on religious oppression, but I remain watchful.

 

Listening to Obama’s speech, I heard words that—over and over—rang true to what I and so many other Americans have been saying for years. I admit that I cried a little—right there in front of people I’m supposed to be leading.

 

For all of America’s flaws, for all of our silly fears and superstitions, in spite of our tendency to be greedy and ignorant—today is a day that signals everything that is good and right with America. A man who 40-odd years ago might not have been allowed into certain provincial businesses, is President. We do learn. We do grow.

 

I love my country with all my heart.

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Responses

  1. It happened the same way where I work. An announcement from the CIO led everyone to the auditorium and Bistro where large screens gave us an on the spot view of the moment. I remember several moments like this one; watching the Sputnik fly overhead in the dark, the moon landing, observing a death, the day President Kennedy was shot, my first kiss, the day the bank burned in Isla Vista during the Vietnam war protests, and of course 9-11. Among the silent awe lay a groundswell of emotion that washed over us all; American, Australian, Canadian, Indian, Polish, Spanish, Dutch… everyone returned to work with many doing the Obama-Rama dance. Even if history remembers nothing else good coming of this day, I know it will remembered as “one of those moments”.

  2. I’m troubled by the deification Obama’s enjoying because it plays right into the Right’s “Messiah” bullshit, but I understand it: the sense of relief throughout the country at Bush’s exit is palpable.

    I’ll say this: Bush was a national embarrassment, and while I was never embarrassed to be an American, I’m *proud* again to be one.

  3. Jian–well said. The only other similar moment I can think about was when the Challenger exploded.

    Churk–agreed. Obama is just another political schmuck. I’m sure we’ll all find out the truth soon … but still, how bad could he be in comparison?

  4. For all of America’s flaws, for all of our silly fears and superstitions, in spite of our tendency to be greedy and ignorant—today is a day that signals everything that is good and right with America. A man who 40-odd years ago might not have been allowed into certain provincial businesses, is President. We do learn. We do grow.

    ***APPEND*** And despite all of our flaws, silly fears and superstitions, we are still THE GREATEST AND MOST GENEROUS NATION ON EARTH.

    I love my country with all my heart.

    Yup. We agree on that, too.

    I was watching ESPN today, trying to find a channel that had nothing at all to do with politics. Pardon The Interruption‘s Michael Wilbon said that five years ago, he and Charles Barkley (for you non-sports types, former NBA stud and nicknamed The Round Mound of Rebound) met Barack Obama and looked at one another in awe. Admittedly, not thinking this may someday be our President, but that there was something different about him. I also agree with this. Regardless of how cool he is, or how good he looks in a suit, this is all we know about him. I will applaud his accomplishments, but I will be as critical of him as you were of Bush, Jim, when he f***s it up.

    To somewhat keep with the theme of the blog, I was trying to avoid the benediction, and after reading the transcript, my suspicion was confirmed. The Reverend is a racist. Racism is sad in any context, but coming from a ‘holy man’ is inexcusable. And this guy represents President Obama. Shudder.

  5. America the Greatest?

    Greatest at what, exactly?

    And most generous? The EU nations didn’t tie all their aid in Iraq and Afghanistan to no-bid contracts for corporate friends, did they? No, you probably don’t know that.

    Keep parrotting, good parrot, sorry citizen Todd.

    I respect Jim and many of the commenters here, but I just don’t see what the US has to be proud of. Millions dead in Latin America, millions dead in the Middle East, millions dead in Vietnam, two atomic bombs and so on. Then again, I come from a fallen empire, and I am sure it’s a great feeling while it lasts, to be #1, etc, it’s just afterwards that the costs are counted.

    Thanks for Johnny Cash, though.

  6. 🙂

  7. Jim,

    I like what you said regarding that the nation learns and it grows. As we all know the USA is just a young experiment by the worlds standards and it only took 44 presidents before an African American man was elected (considering the history, this is a great step forward).

    Think of all the differences that individuals have in beliefs, morals, ideas and thoughts. For a nation to allow SO much and to still be able to Unite it’s citizens is a major accomplishment and one that can be considered to be one of the greatest nations in the world for sure.

    Kingfelix, I think I understand your point that our history (however short) has it’s stains, and we don’t ALWAYS do what is right in the eyes of the world (you can NOT please all people). The way I see it, all the nations of the world are like “special interest” groups. They all have their agendas and all have their influences (public opinion, monetary, military…). What other country would you rather live in or perhaps even die defending?

    Why do you call Todd a sorry citizen? The Man In Black is your favorite US export, really? :o)

    I am proud that we have a new president that has the potential to lead and to create hope for all of us. I for one, won’t be looking to tear him down, I hope he succeeds in establishing a more united citizenry. There are so many problems that he faces, but he is facing them (at least now) like a man and is not afraid to address them.

    Like you all have said in one way or another, he is just a man and in my opinion should not be looked to to solve all the worlds problems and to be a “savior”, but what a nice start to some positive thinking and hope!

    Rick Warren said a nice prayer and you don’t have to believe in his God to appreciate the mans heart. If we took more time to really understand each other, we would have less anger toward one another and more peace.

  8. Hi Ted!

    Regarding Rick Warren’s prayer … while I was opposed to it in concept (and still am) I am grateful that he was at least multi-cultural in his approach. He was much less offensive than he could have been.

  9. Ted:

    “Kingfelix, I think I understand your point that our history (however short) has it’s stains, and we don’t ALWAYS do what is right in the eyes of the world (you can NOT please all people). The way I see it, all the nations of the world are like “special interest” groups. They all have their agendas and all have their influences (public opinion, monetary, military…). What other country would you rather live in or perhaps even die defending?”

    “You can NOT please all people!” I will pass this on to the guy in Hiroshima whose outline is clearly visible burned into a flight of steps.

    I would prefer to live in many countries other than the US. I preferred Ireland and Guatemala (despite Guatemala’s enormous problems, most of them caused by US foreign policy that left thousands dead), I prefer my current home, Taiwan. What is really so good about life in the US, Ted?

    As for dying for a country, no, I would not die to defend any country, and I have little time for those who are out there in Iraq and Afghanistan ‘doing their bit’ and ‘serving the nation’ etc, they have all died for lies, and if their dying was a great sacrifice, it is possible to recognise that while also recognising that it will be remembered as a historical crime that they were actors in.

    I would more readily die for the defence of an ideal, for freedom, for liberty, for justice, etc, but to die for the US today (or my own country, the UK) would not be to die for those causes, as the West is slowly forsaking these causes (more or less openly, Cheney with his torture, etc). If you value freedom from tyranny, Ted, then you should also recognise the rights of the insurgents in Iraq to counter the illegal occupation of their country, and so forth, which I do. However, the Western media dismisses most of these people as terrorists, of course.

    Having stood in Glasnevin cemetery and read of the defenders of Irish liberty, hung like common thieves and thrown into unmarked graves, taken again from the earth when the tide of history turned, and reinterred beneath a fitting monument to the blood spilt in their patriotism, I am aware that defintions change and the past is slowly rewritten. One thing that burns me is that Americans go on and on about their patriotism and love of country, yet where is the recognition of an Afghans love of country or an Iraqis when they fight against the US?

    It’s nowhere to be seen. It’s always good vs evil, and Hollywood has convinced Americans of every political persuasion that you are always the good guys, when you’ve more often than not been Darth Vader on steroids with your napalm and nuclear bombs and your School of the Americas.

    Thanks for The Sopranos, though, excellent television.

  10. Of course, religion, the subject of this blog, is one of the prime movers of this Good vs Evil construction, Christian (good) vs Muslim (evil), etc, so therefore, Christianity in the US is a player in one of the most regressive means of dividing common humanity from itself.


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