Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day One

I normally manage to remain in control of my emotions when I read the newspaper--short, in recent years, of those bouts of anger reading about what our former non-president had done, and fear about the consequences of his actions. I suppose those count as emotions. But I found myself choking up all over again as I read the New York Times report of how Obama spent his first day in the Oval Office. This is getting ridiculous. But isn't it nice, for a change, instead of turning the pages and reading about one disastrous mis-step after the next, to find oneself nodding sagely at each turn of the page: Hmmm, yes, good move. That was the right thing to have done...

There was a column that linguistically explained the likely source of the Chief Justice's flubbing of the words of the oath of office: a pedant's revulsion for the grammatical "error" of a "split verb" in the wording of the Constitution: from the strictly technical point of view, it is incorrect to split an infinitive or a future construction by placing an adverb in between. Thus, "to faithfully execute" should strictly read "faithfully to execute" or "to execute faithfully." Those founders! A strict constructionist, the Chief Justice must have been torn between the words of the Constitution and his reputed pedantry, and his confusion was reflected in his very public foundering on the rocks of mis-spoken lines--an embarrassment viewed by millions throughout the world.

No matter, Obama did the right thing (again!) by insisting that Roberts participate in the return engagement, leaving not the slightest grounds for nigglers--yes, please look again: I spelled that right--of all shades to contest his legitimacy. And isn't it good to hear a President talk about openness and transparency being the hallmark of his office? And signing an order, Day One, to begin the process of closing Guantanamo? And capping the salaries of his staff? And barring lobbyists from his--I mean our--White House?

It's enough to make a grown man cry.

Oh, and speaking of intelligence, a friend sent me this link to a video which I have not seen elsewhere, and which I found quite charming. It does put things into perspective.

6 comments:

donna said...

The buttheads are still complaining that he wasn't sworn in the second time on a Bible...

Mark said...

I chatted with a friend of mine yesterday who talked to me about how excited he is that children in school from now on will learn about civil rights through a totally different lens. We have a black president now and though it's somewhat of a marvel for a lot of us (especially the older generations who remember peace rallies and equal rights activism), kids in the future have been given a much better example to help them learn about equal rights. It's kind of a cool thought.

citizen of the world said...

I enjoyed Obama's slight smile during that interaction.

robin andrea said...

His second day has been as impressive as his first. It is thrilling to hear him tackle the big issues, to know how engaged and hands-on he is, to really believe he has the good of the country on his very capable mind. I couldn't be happier. It's like opening a window and letting the most refreshing winds sweep out these past eight, stagnant years.

Gary said...

Consistent persistent commitment dedicated honest
brief wise calm steady. Obama exemplifies qualities
we wish to see in our own lives!

khengsiong said...

I will be happy if gun lobbyists are barred from the White House...

I live in a country where guns are licensed, and find it difficult to accept the US model where firearms are freely sold. This is no longer the Wild West era when settlers had to fend for themselves.

OK, I know Malaysia's gun law is too stringent. Something in between would be good.