Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations Mr. President.

Congratulations America. We just performed our time-honored ritual of inaugurating a new President. One of the functions of ritual is to connect us with our past. When a Jew puts on tefilin or eats Matza on Pesah, he connects with the Vilna Gaon, the Rambam and Rabbi Akiva, who did the same things. As Americans, we connected today with over 200 years of investing our leaders in much the same way, with the new President repeating the words, flubbed a little this time around, enshrined in the Constitution by the Founding Fathers in 1788. Whenever I watch the orderliness and high ceremony of an inauguration I experience a rush of joy and thankfulness at being an American. In too many unhappy lands, transfer of power occurs by means of violence and bloodshed. Here, the only soldiers in the street are the bands playing Hail to the Chief and, unfortunately of late, the security people keeping us safe from terrorists. For all our faults, we are still the envy of the world, with a system so many wish they had at home.
President Obama takes office after a brilliant campaign, and one of the cleanest, most issue-oriented ones that I can remember. I did not support him, but I recognize that this is a watershed moment in our history. I'm old enough to remember the tail end of the struggle for civil rights, and to have heard poisoned talk of "shvartzes" by parents and others who should have known better. Who would have dreamed that a dark-skinned American, who only 50 years ago would not have been served at a lunch counter in parts of our country, would be elected President? What a road we have traveled. For me, the most memorable part of the campaign was when I ran in a black part of Brooklyn in my McCain shirt and hat, without incident save for a couple of girls doing a double take. 30 years ago that get-up would have gotten me jumped, but 30 years ago Barack Obama would not have been running for President. Not only did I not come to any harm, but a black resident of Crown Heights had his home all decked out with McCain signs and other Republican memorabilia, including a sign proclaiming that Martin Luther King was a Republican, as were most black Americans before the 1960s, if they were able to register to vote altogether. His house was not burned down, not even picketed. If we have indeed reached maturity as a nation, if race indeed no longer matters, then we should expect black folks to be on every side of every issue, just as white folks are, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Keynesians and free marketeers, and so forth.

We will be arguing again soon enough. Now is a time to set aside our differences, a time for joy, for good feeling, for gratitude, for pride in America. God bless the U.S.A.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most Blacks were Republicans before FDR-that caused the switch-Nixon in 60 and Ike received a minority of the Black vote-some older omes still were GOP. In the later 60s with the Southern GOP strategy started the almost nonexistence of Black GOP votes. I am one who watched the 60 and 64 political conventions.


Wed Jan 21, 05:03:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as we all realize that the flub was on the part of the Chief Justice who inserted the word faithfully in the wrong spot. Those Republicans ... ;)

Wed Jan 21, 01:56:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Former President Jimmy Carter says Hamas can be trusted:


Tue Jan 27, 12:30:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Barack Hussein Obama is reminding the Islamic countries where women are openly persecuted that he has Muslim roots.

I knew this would happen....

Would you go to a doctor with 143 days experience? Should a Junior Senator with 143 days experience be the President of the greatest democracy of the world?

Mon Feb 09, 01:00:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oSama Bin Ladin is laughing in his cave at the naive, trusting, gullible Americans.

(While they are plotting to kill all the Jews first, the rest of the infidels later)

Mon Feb 09, 01:02:00 PM EST  
Blogger Zev Stern said...

Would you go to a doctor with 143 days experience? Should a Junior Senator with 143 days experience be the President of the greatest democracy of the world?

No, but that's water over the dam now.

President Obama does have Muslim roots and need not be ashamed of them. Conservatives pride themselves on being "strict constructionists," meaning they believe the Constitution means what it says. It says, "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification
to any Office or public Trust under the United States" (Art. 6). Interestingly, according to Islamic law he is a Muslim because his father was one. He does not practice Islam, which in their view makes him an apostate and subject to the death penalty. There are crazy Muslims out there that might want to assassinate him, and I do hope the Secret Service is on it.

Wed Feb 11, 08:50:00 AM EST  

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