It’s been 12 momentous hours. More words have and will be written about this day than one person could read in a lifetime. People far more qualified an insightful than I will dissect every aspect of this day.
There’s no doubt that President Obama is an outstanding orator and an inspiring leader.
“We will extend a hand, if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.”
“Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed.”
“We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”
“We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers.”
Wow. And yes. To it all.
Let me add just a few personal, and uncharacteristically non-sentimental observations on the day.
1. President Obama spoke thousands of words today. Many were well-crafted, profound, thought-provoking. But these words, spoken near the beginning of his remarks at the Congressional luncheon after the swearing-in ceremony, stopped me in my tracks:
“I want to think the devoted staff and volunteers, including our wait staff here today who were putting up with me wandering through the tables. It’s always hazardous duty serving in a room full of politicians, but I thank all of you for just an incredible, incredible event.”
In the midst of his 12 hour marathon academy acceptance speech, he thanked the luncheon wait staff. Complete class.
2. President Obama is left handed like me. I didn’t know that until I saw him sign his first official documents, then I noticed immediately. He is only the 8th left-handed president in history. (I love the internet!) Here’s the list. This is also a cute article that discusses his lefty-ness.
3. The watch President Obama wore to the inaugural balls was ugly! A big clunky, chunky black thing – ugh. But it’s interesting that he wears a watch. So though he’s young, he’s not quite young enough to be of the “let me check my cell phone for the time” generation. The 39 your old me likes that, because I am still a watch person myself.
4. He’s been in office just over 12 hours and he’s already starting to fulfill campaign promises. Within the last hour, he suspended for 120 days proceedings involving prisoners at Guantanamo. And there’s this from the new, improved, and completely redesigned www.whitehouse.gov website that went online at 12 noon:
“One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.”
What? We get to SEE and COMMENT ON legislation pending signature? Yes. And wow. (Go sign up for the White House blog RSS feed – and if you don’t know how to do it or what “RSS” even means, I challenge you to go find out and learn something new!)
History’s been made. The future awaits.