Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Day, 2009: History Gets Made

Unless something very unexpected happens, tomorrow will be a very historic day. Barack Obama is expected to become the first black president of the United States, on the day after this year's Martin Luther King Day.

Actually, it's a pretty big deal.

This is the third 'milestone' presidency I've seen:
  • Kennedy, America's first nominally Catholic president
  • Carter, the first 'openly southern' president since the War Between the States1
  • Obama, the first black American president
Under the circumstances, I'm going to let this post get a little further away from discussion of the War on Terror than usual.

Presidential Moving Day's a Bit Different This Time

There won't be moving vans around the White House to get the Bush's stuff out of the way. At Mrs. Bush's direction, the family belongings were packed and sent to Crawford, Texas, starting in the summer of 2008. The family got their stuff out of Camp David over the Christmas-New Year holiday.

Aside from making things perhaps less hectic for the Bush family, getting most of the soon-to-be-former president's belongings out of the way makes it easier for the White House staff to get the Obamas' personal belongings unpacked and prepared.

Following in Lincoln's Steps: Tracks, Actually

Barack Obama traveled to Washington, D.C., by train, following the route taken by Abraham Lincoln. In a very old-fashioned railway car. It was built in 1930, but the symbolism is still there.

An op-ed in The Times of India gave a plausible explanation for the 'Lincoln's Route' show. An American professor said that Obama wanted to:
  • Get associated with a great leader
  • Put himself in a "broader narrative about the nation overcoming its racial past"
  • Give the impression that he's a leader who can "heal divisions in difficult times"
That "heal divisions" business got my attention. I suppose that most Americans aren't aware that the Reconstruction didn't end until around 1877 (Lincoln was assassinated in 1865), and don't know much about carpetbaggers. Enough of that. It's the theater that counts here: and it was good theater.

It's Going to be An Exciting Four to Eight Years

I am concerned about the assumptions and beliefs that Obama may be bringing to the White House. Today and tomorrow, however, it's time to celebrate an historic event: The inauguration of the first black president of the United States, and the first inauguration since the attack of 9/11.

After that, given the times we live in and Obama's flair for drama and symbol, I think we can expect a lively presidency.

News, views, and background:
1Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president from one of the pre-Sumpter Confederate States of America (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas). However, since he and, to a lesser extent, L. Johnson did not exhibit mannerisms which indicated a southern origin, their presidencies do not seem to represent such a radical shift from the post-Reconstruction era.

Jimmy Carter, a Georgian peanut farmer with a distinct southern (Georgian, specifically) accent, was the first president since the War Between the States to be unabashedly from the south. I see this as a major step in repairing damage done in the latter part of the 19th century.



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Anonymous said...

Obama is nothing like Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was a Godly man who believed in freedom and believed in life and who made change by removing chains. This nation is not enslaved the African Americans are not slaved they are free by the works of others.

Abraham Lincoln supports life Obama does not. Abraham Lincoln wanted to help others in Economic times. Obama is only thinking of himself.

I will be watching the Inauguration. And will posting on it soon.vador

Brian H. Gill said...

Politics and the future,

I've no idea what Barack Obama's spiritual state is, but his publicly stated policies are somewhat disturbing to me.

However, his election and inauguration are historically significant. And, there is every indication that his administration will be far from boring.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.