Even though I am a bit sceptic about the big "Obamahype" that has been created over the last moments and I am a bit fearful about the too high hopes that everyone seems to carry, I did not want to miss this historical inauguration. (and just for once I am not working at that moment).

I do believe it is historical and watching the ceremony did give me regular chills down my spine.
I do believe the Americans have made the best choice they had on Nov 4th and I am happy for them. I am happy that they now have a charasmatic leader that does seem to inspire so many people.

As a probably fairly ignorant European watching it all, I had some thoughts....some more trivial than others :

* what an incredible crowd out there in Washington. The atmosphere must be incredible and unforgettable. I think it would be comparable to the world youth days in Rome where we also gathered with 2 million people, all cheerfull, everyone bonding together...but this event is even more special as everyone feels they are part of history.
* what a crowd....what if they have to pee? All afternoon I could not get that thought out of my head. It's so cold, that stimulates the bladder! But then I read there's 5000 mobile toilets on the Mall. 1 per 200 people....that's doable.
* why do they keep calling Obama the first black president? He's 50-50 right? So just as much entitled to be called white as black?
* Whereas the USA was ready for a semi-black president....they surely do not seem ready for an atheïst or non-christian president. I don't think such a candidate will be elected in the near future. Until then , even as a Christian, I can't help feeling awkward to see that a church service, a prayer before the oath and the famous sentence "so help me God" is part of the inauguration. How can you then represent all citizens I wonder, even if your country is founded by Christians?

I had a twitter search open during the speech...you should have seen the thank yous and responses when he did aknowledge being the president of a "nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers". There truly is a need for that acknowledgment!!!!
* I got annoyed but the amount of attention Michele's dress gets by our journalists.
* Many references to the environment, health care and education in the speech. I like it!
* "this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control " => more government interaction/intervention can be expected in the economics
* "And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it."

Well, I wish you good luck Mr President. Your work can start now and the world is watching.


anno said…
Bathrooms! Ha! I never would have thought of that!
Jen said…
The situation with his being half and half as you call it, is very different here in the states. People are still judged by the color of their skin, not the content of their character (the opposite of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s quest), and we have a long way to go in terms of dealing with our issues of racism.

Since so much of our pomp and circumstance and legal documents come from 200+ years ago, much of the language, etc., is outdated. The church service is not mandatory; that was a choice by the Obamas. The invocation and benediction are traditional and the oath is mandatory, although I think it could be changed if we had a non-Christian president.

I think that possibility is still a long way, off, however, despite our supposed doctrine of "separation of Church and State". I was delighted that he included citizens of other religions as well as non-believers in his speech.

I also felt his speech was realistic and was trying to counter the Obama hype. I think he's aware of the dangers of that as much as anyone.

It was very interesting seeing your perspectives here!
Goofball said…
@Jen: I'm flattered that you seem to place racism more in the USA as in Europe. In Belgium we have an extreme right politica party with slogans like "own people first" that have hit highs up to 30% of the votes. They are a bit on decline now, but Europeans really should not boast being less racist! We still have a long way to go.
Nevertheless it strikes me that all media (ours too) cal a 50/50 person by definition black. It makes me think of the Nazi idea of "pure blood".

And yes, I think a non-christian president is still a long way off just because he'd not find an electoral majority.
I just heard in some dutch tv show that Obama's inauguration was commented already much more divers than the usual ones, that he clearly made an effort (by eg inviting rev Warren, and naming the other religions etc.). Just before the oath I was chatting with a Canadian daughter of a rev that I know very well and she was utterly shocked that I might even question these traditions.
And traditions have an important value on its own for countries and cultures, so I don't want to question them. But the distinction between church and politics is much bigger in Europe so it really strikes us when we watch this. And it does make me feel uneasy.
Anonymous said…
:-) Zo grappig dat je daar aan denkt... aan die WC's!

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