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Joy on the Mall

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Follow Me on Twitter     Message Steve Consilvio
Barack Obama was sworn in as President, and millions thronged to witness the event. I must admit that I am happy to be relieved of the neo-cons, and the greatest promise of democracy does work. Solon of ancient Greece should be credited for his handiwork and his faith in the common man.

Nevertheless, I am more amazed at the prospect of what a truly happy moment could be. I suppose those who witnessed the end of World War II know of a deep euphoria, but that was only after the construction of a world wholly dedicated to destruction. The inaugural shares the same roots, in the sense that the world has been careening off balance ever since 9/11. Certainly the maligned of America have waited patiently for centuries, just as the slaves of Egypt waited upon Moses, and are full of much joy. If so much joy can be found in the simple act of two men changing their jobs, imagine the joy if something really big occurred, and all our jobs changed! Imagine the world's response to a Jubilee! Imagine if everybody understood the concept of mercy and liberty at its deepest level and fullest girth. The end of unnecessary war and the inauguration are just a small taste of what the commonwealth of man could be.

In the grand scale of things, the coronation of a new President isn't that noteworthy. It is a relatively common event, and was re-enacted today by Obama and Justice Roberts because they flubbed the wording. Such attention to the pedantic sets an odd tone for the new administration, especially when the importance of words was discussed in the speeches leading up to the oath. Words themselves are unimportant; it is always their meaning that has value.

Prophets challenge the choices of their forefathers. America had a Civil War because the Founding Fathers were unwilling to free their own slaves. They were hypocrites who demanded liberty for themselves, but gave none to those whom they could set free. Their concern was to protect their own station. In contrast, Solon used the resources of the nation-state to free the slaves and lived humbly. America's history is not nearly as virtuous as Obama claimed. Lincoln ended up presiding over a civil war because of his mistaken faith in the Founding Fathers. Lincoln looked to the signers for guidance, when he should have looked for their flaws.

Lincoln is not a good choice for any president to emulate. Obama's speech reinforced false stereotypes. Of course, with so much pomp and circumstance, he was silenced by the weight of history. I suspect that he would admit so privately, but if he gets caught up in the myth, it will be his undoing.

While Obama has a generally balanced and courageous approach to history and world events, he has not addressed why we were attacked on 9/11. Nobody in Washingtonn D.C. has. Why did communism and now Islam reject democracy and capitalism? How did Hitler's paranoid racism take root? Obama is also part of the collective failure to make hard choices and ask tough questions. The mirror is a treacherous place. One need not be President to discover and speak the truth. The intelligence community is not going to give him the intelligence he needs.

If Obama lost the election, his story would be lost with it, because he has no plan beyond kindness. His intelligent compassion trumps Bush's conservative compassion every day, but Obama, like Bush, uses the word enemy to describe those whom he would kill, if necessary. The faith in one's own myth is what has created this mess. The pride of nations is what reduces the world into conflict. He is continuing to furnish the fear that burdens us. Ancient Athens was a money-mad commercial society when it collapsed, too.

I respect Obama's desire to have the world's pulpit. His speech was stern and measured, both planting hope and trying to reduce expectations. What I would have preferred, however, is an explanation of history, not the rote glorification of grammar-school indoctrination. You cannot solve a problem if you do not have a firm grasp on what caused it originally. You cannot make peace with those whom you call your enemy. Nevertheless, he is among the more intellectually honest persons to ever occupy the White House. That bodes well. A seed has been planted. Joy is a wonderful flavor. I hope everyone acquires the taste to be happy and free.
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