Posted tagged ‘inauguration’

Which Inauguration Line Stuck Out to You Most

January 20, 2009

Listening to Barack Obama’s inauguration speech was awe inspiring. With 18 minutes worth of speaking, there were plenty of moments that made people laugh and cry.

One of my most favorite lines was

The world has changed; and we must change with it.

Granted, this speech semeed to lack that “There is nothing to fear” moment as FDR gave us, but his speech was exactly what this nation at this time.

 

What were some of your favorite lines that you will be able to recite verbatum to your children?

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President Obama & The Fierce Urgency of Now

January 20, 2009

It is truly remarkable how far we have come as a nation in the past two years. When I reflect upon my part in the historic events that led to the election and inauguration of the first black president in our nation’s history it fills me with joy to know that I was there when it all began (for me) one late October night in 2006. Myself, and three others went into Seattle (on a school night!) to attempt to scalp tickets to see Barack Obama, a mostly unknown junior senator from Illinois give a talk about his book and perhaps have a chance for him to sign a book of ours. We were incredibly lucky to even get four tickets out of the line, and to get them at face value (five dollars). We made friends with people that were close to the front of the line and waited to get in with them. Already the spirit of togetherness was overtaking common citizens! We sat in the first row allowed for those with our sort of ticket. Then one of us asked if we could move all the way to the front, which we were allowed to do. Watching him enter from my left side was crazy and even then it blew my mind. His talk touched upon the fundamentals that he would eventually utilise to run for President. I was terribly impressed by how (mostly) non-partisan he was. It was truly refreshing. Afterward we all waited patiently for our group to be called to have our books signed. One of us had bought an extra book for our AP Government professor which was my ticket into the line. Eventually it was my turn to walk up and get the book signed. I handed him my book and he signed it and then I asked him, “I don’t know if this is kosher but could you sign my ticket stub?” He smiled and said yes and I shook his hand. We left Benaroya Hall walking on air at the experience. Looking back upon it now it seems like it was in a different time.

I always thought from then on that he was the right man for the job. I was just waiting on everyone else to realise what I already had. Then the movement began slowly and showed itself in Iowa, in South Carolina, and so on and so forth. We stand here today perched on the precipice of the kind of history that our generation has never been witness to. Yes, we did watch in horror as the towers fell in smoke and ash under the pressure of terrorism and hate. Yes, we did watch our nation go to war. Yes, we did watch our economy sink to depths none of us could have imagined. Yes, we were told our opinions did not matter. This however, is the kind of moment that will forever live in all our memories as one that is a happy memory, one that reminds us that even though we have witnessed and grown up during some of the toughest times this country has ever faced, we can and did rise up and send a message to the world that we are a generation of change. That we are a generation that refuses to allow others to tell us what we cannot achieve. With that sort of resolve, inspired by a man with a funny name and big ears, we can achieve anything.

And now, we turn ourselves to bear witness to the day Martin Luther King dreamed of when he made his address on the Lincoln Memorial over 40 years ago. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” That day, is January 20, 2009. Let us enjoy it.

Barack Obama’s Inauguration: Stories From The Mall

January 20, 2009
Millions on the national mall awaiting the inauguration of President Obama.

Millions on the national mall awaiting the inauguration of President Obama.

(Washington D.C.) – Today I along with a few other College Democrats joined the millions of Americans from every state stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. Within 5 feet were people from Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, California, Kentucky and a multitude of other states. Even more impressive were the people from the Bahamas and the Netherlands.

Every race, color and creed was visible on the mall. After arriving around 1am there were plenty of people who were rich, poor, tired and eventually just a huddled mass. All of them telling us how they came with friends from South Africa and as far away as Australia. Everyone sharing stories about how Barack Obama’s election has personally touched them in a way no election ever has.

Singing songs together in unity to stay warm, loudly cheering for President Obama when he appeared on the jumbotron and quietly listening to pastor Rick Warren when he spoke to everyone.

Whether you were there in person, saw it at home on your television, saw it online at work, or listened to it on the radio this was a moment for the history books. From Los Angeles to New York to the forgotten corners of the world everyone will remember this moment. What did you make of this moment?

Reflections on History

January 20, 2009

For me, today isn’t a Black or White thing, although I acknowledge the importance of such.

For me, today is about the culmination of my young political experience. I remember watching the 1992 election, although I was rooting for Bush 1, since he was old and reminded me of my grandpa. In 1996 I started to understand the political ideologies at play, and watched Bill Clinton promise to build a bridge to the new millennium.

2000 was an awakening of more political awareness for me, as I realized I would be voting in the reelection of whichever candidate won, four years from then. I watched the debates actively, even though I didn’t quite understand all of the jargon. I saw Gore as confident but bland, unable to ignite much passion from within the Democratic party; a party which had become a little too arrogant and complacent after the Clinton years. I saw Bush as the everyman, the guy who spoke to the voters while Gore tended to speak at them. Bush appealed to everything that Republicans and Moderates had come to dislike about the Clintons. He was an outsider, a born-again Christian who lived the straight-and-narrow, and promised smaller and more responsible government.

All this being said, Gore still appeared significantly more qualified for the job. Gore’s campaign, however, was run atrociously – some of it bad luck, but plenty of it his doing. Gore wasn’t himself during the campaign (as we’d find out far too late), and Bush came off as the candidate most comfortable in his skin.

Bush impressed me with his leadership after 9/11, although he will forever be held responsible for his administration disregarding the “terrorist threat on US soil” memo. For me his administration’s downfall came after mid-term election in 2002. I fought hard for Kerry in 2004, and cast my first election ballot for him. I watched in disbelief from my Hofstra dorm room as the election results trickled in. ‘First the Yankees in the ALCS, and now this,’ I lamented. I could not understand why the country would reelect a President who, aside from a two-week war in Afghanistan, hadn’t accomplished anything he set out to do. I crossed my fingers that I would be wrong.

The country was bitterly divided down partisan lines, each side cynical, each side distrustful, neither side right. After 9/11 I was glued to CNN and MSNBC like I was once glued to ESPN. After 2004 I couldn’t watch anymore. No politician I saw on TV inspired me, no one gave me confidence. Republicans had a huge air of arrogance surrounding them, Democrats had no accountability…and visa versa.

I went to see Ralph Nader speak at Hofstra after the ’04 Election, and was inspired. He insisted that Washington was broken. He understood the crisis in Washington that I was currently feeling – that the Republicans and Democrats were no longer responsive to their electorate, and were engaged in so much partisanship that they were taking the nation down in order to pursue their selfish, stubborn pursuits. I bought his pamphlet that he was selling, which was modeled after Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”. His speech changed my outlook on politics forever, and I still have my notes from it.

Another thing happened late in 2004 that changed my political outlook – I came across a Newsweek cover-story on Barack Obama, a young Senate-candidate from Illinois. I was in class when he gave his famous speech at the ’04 Democratic Convention, never saw it, and never heard about it until I came across this article. The article detailed his radical political ideology – compromise, and bipartisanship. His radical stance sounded vaguely familiar – mostly because it was the major tenets that our country was once built upon, what we all learned in school growing up. This guy had the nerve to try and translate those ideals into practice. Didn’t he know that what we learned in school wasn’t how things actually worked? School teaches us what was, and we have to figure out for ourselves what is, since the two were mutually exclusive.

But here’s this Obama guy, and he’s trying to make it simple. Instead of appealing to the lowest common denominator – disagreement, he was appealing to something more. Instead of complicating things, going deep into rarely understood political jargon to find fault with one’s opponent, Obama was taking a step back in perspective, and realizing that the bickering, one-up-manship of contemporary politics was stalemating the entire country’s progress. Obama didn’t point his finger at Republicans, he said that both parties were responsible for this stalemate and gridlock. Finally, there was a charismatic, affable leader who was echoing the conflict of ideals that had been plaguing my view of politics.

From that point on I felt like I had a political ideology of my own, a voice. I surely would not have gotten involved in politics on any level if not for Nader’s speech and Newsweek’s article on Obama.
I deeply disagreed with the Bush Administration’s direction, but didn’t consider myself a Democrat. I had more moderate stances on some issues, and Obama taught me to embrace that, not to run from it.

And so today stands as further affirmation of that truth. It proves that people are skeptical, but ultimately yearn for someone to appeal to their prefrontal cortex, the best, most evolved version of themselves. Sure, Obama might have transcended the realm of politics and entered the realm of trend, but it is only because people embrace his appeal to a higher good, and such belief is contagious.

And now that today has come and gone, the Bush Administration is no more, and the Obama Administration is in its infancy, all that’s been is nothing but history. And that’s why we, as young Democrats, must continue to forge ahead to make sure that all of the progress of this campaign isn’t lost on the merits of Obama’s decisions as President. We must not forget this moment, when all seemed possible, because tomorrow will not be as perfect as today, and the cynics and skeptics will inevitably try to reclaim their supremacy. If we remember this moment and how it redefined what we thought was possible, then anything is.

Barack Obama to be Sworn in on Lincoln’s Bible

December 23, 2008

With less than 30 days left until his auguration, CNN has reported that President – Elect Barack Obama will be sworn in on the same bible that Abraham Lincoln used to be sworn in back in March of 1861.  The bible is currently being displayed at the Library of Congress, and will be returned after Mr. Obama becomes President Obama. In a statement released on Tuesday:

The President-elect is committed to holding an Inauguration that celebrates America’s unity, and the use of this historic Bible will provide a powerful connection to our common past and common heritage

Lincolns bible, on display here at the Library of Congress, is the bible chosen by Barack Obama to be sworn in on.

Lincoln's bible, on display here at the Library of Congress, is the bible chosen by Barack Obama to be sworn in on.

Aside from this story showing us that Barack still loves his dramatic moments,  at least everyone can now be silenced as to what Barack Obama will swear on when he takes the oath of office.