Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama's Ironic Inaugural Address

Who would have thought that President Obama’s Inaugural Address would:
  1. Have fewer applause lines than most Inaugural Addresses, but in the light of history will likely earn more accolades than most?
  2. Contain fewer uses of I than most, but use the collective we to strengthen his leadership more than most?
  3. Speak -- as a Democrat and an African-American -- more about personal responsibility and less about individual rights?
  4. Include fewer references to the role and policies of government and more references to the values needed to restore the quality of government?
  5. Offer a sometimes conservative, patriotic, and spiritual message to a largely Democratic and Liberal audience?
  6. Use down-home, colloquial rhetoric to drive home key points during one of America’s most formal occasions?
  7. Exalt the historic successes of white America in a manner that drew black and white America together?
  8. Hold out an olive branch to the world, but shrouded with a firm warning?
  9. Demonstrate personal humility on an occasion filled with pride, pomp and circumstance?
  10. Show genuine affection and appreciation for his predecessor, when many in the audience held him in contempt?
Who would have thought that President Obama’s Inaugural Address could do all of the above without alienating and offending many? It did, and for that all Americans should be thankful. President Obama started us on the right course, uniting a divided America.

Martin Luther King and Ronald Reagan would have been proud of President Obama's Inaugural Address.

47 comments:

tigerdad said...

Agreed and Welcome Back!

jose said...

Your column is insightful, magnanimous and inspiring, like the Inaugural Address itself.

INDEPENDENT REPUBLICAN said...

I couldn't agree more. The tone, sincerity and substance of what President Obama has said today and throughout the campaign even an ardent faith based conservative like myself can find only few exceptions with. Yet there is this underlying nagging condition that I can't shake, i.e. if 90% of the people who supported Obama and the likes of those appointed to his cabinet and other positions are the liberal, pinko, commie, anti-American types (re:Clinton/Emanuel/Moneta, etc...) that they are AND in that they are the heart of his campaign then we are probably in for a rude awakening. I am reminded of the old adage "You are known by the company you keep."
Specific adherence to our Constitution will be the ultimate determinant.


Semper Fidelis
Semper Paratus
Semper Vigilantia

ayong said...

I am hopeful that this means a substantive middle ground is possible and that those on the far left & far right will awaken to the possibilities of such a via media.

davidchaffee said...

Chuck-You nailed it. Outstanding and insightful analysis. I got emotional when President Obama referred to Washington's faith and courage at Valley Forge. He understands American history and we need to get behind him. I also was impressed with Rick Warren's invocation.
David C.

K.M, said...

I appreciate your insightful analysis. Most Chinese people watched the election and Inauguration via TV and Internet. While appreciating what happened during the process, they reexamine the difference between cultures and difference between systems. Anyway,I do hope President Obama can maintain the good relationship between the States and China that Ex-President Bush devoted himself to.

anne kensington said...

I agree. Obama has successfully appealed to the centrist majority, the key to ending partisan gridlock and coming up with workable answers to the many serious challenges the nation faces. American democracy functions best when an eloquent and pragmatic leader has the dependable support of a centrist majority. Instead of rewarding the far left-- risking new rejection from the right and possible alienation of the center -- Obama now has the opportunity to lead from the center, and simply ignore much of the far left's agenda. As a moderate conservative, I sincerely hope he does just that.

Gerry Carlson said...

Our new president has launched lofty and noble goals for his beginning. It will be easy to see if he brings refreshing change as promised, or if he veers off to Chicago style politics.

Having lived in Chicago and down-state Illinois, I say that it won't be hard to tell the difference between back-alley bullying and cornfield hard work. His words are very hopeful.

djk said...

Dr. Dunn:
I have read and feel compelled to respond to your blog “President Obama’s Ironic Inaugural.”
You have concluded, based upon ten (10) observations/questions, that President Obama has “started us on the right course, uniting a divided America.”
I am unclear about the “right course.”
President Obama had four objectives in his address: 1) distinguish himself from former President Bush; 2) embrace Pluralism; 3) establish Statism; and 4) emphasize redistributive policies.
First, President Obama acknowledged and thanked, in the most meager terms, President Bush for his service and his help in the transition. This was hardly a show of genuine affection and appreciation for the former President. He could have simply said, “President Bush is a nice guy.” He spent considerable effort in distinguishing his agenda in the remainder of the address using such phrases as “starting today,” “remaking,” and “no longer.”
Second, the occasional acknowledgment of “God” and the list of prominent religions practiced in the United States does not constitute a conservative, patriotic and spiritual message. “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers,” Obama said. Perhaps the bumper-sticker slogan “coexist” could have been inserted here. After all, we are all one.
Third, President Obama is a statist. He believes that the role of civil government is primary. Serving the state is the way to mutual success and freedom. The pronoun “we” as used by our new President is an emphasis of collectivism, not individual God-endowed responsibility, accountability, and merit. Obama declared that “We will build the roads and bridges…we will restore science to its rightful place…we will transform our schools and colleges…” Notwithstanding the substance of each of these proposals, President Obama further expands the state into “find[ing] jobs at a decent wage,” “[health]care they can afford,” and a “retirement that is dignified.” Have we disregarded the discussion regarding the proper role of civil government, or have we simply suspended our disbelief in lieu of the Presidential honeymoon?
Lastly, the President, in keeping with the unity theme, outlines his transnational and intra-national redistributive intentions. Is this the “olive branch” to the world? Through government, he intends ensure that our nation will not “favor” only the prosperous, that we will “make..farms flourish and let clean waters flow; “…nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds” and that we will “no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders.” Perhaps this is the spiritual message…the church usurped by government.
Dr. Dunn, it is not relevant how many applause lines he has or how personally humble he may appear. Whether Martin Luther King and Ronald Reagan would have been proud of his address, albeit speculative and questionable, is also not important. We are accountable to only One.
We are a nation founded upon principles not values. Indeed, our new President is correct in saying that the ground has shifted beneath us. Today, the President will sign executive orders that authorize tax funded abortions for overseas personnel, give terrorists constitutional protection, and begin to dismantle our defense. The "right course"?
I pray for our nation and those in authority over us. I pray for mercy.

Odalis said...

Dr. Dunn;

I am in total agreement with you. Sometimes, we can find good character qualities in unlikely individuals challenging us to be cautious not to judge, on the basis of preconceived ideas or biases, even when we think we have enough information on a person. While considering, whether or not anyone merits our esteem or support, we should always give the benefit of the doubt in the worse case scenario. In time a good tree will yield good fruit. Perhaps, in President Obama's case is still a wait and see situation, but thus far, I have not been disappointed. It's refreshing to find common ground admirations despite the differences. Humility speaks extendedly in regards to our President, showing forth evidence of having a good backbone always hopeful he will deliver to the nation his inherited mentored values.

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當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

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Agnes said...

Not sure if this will reach you but could please post the Poem/Essay you read or quoted earlier today on the Tony Mancrinni program/WNIS?