In extraordinary presidents’ lunch, you find sweet and bittersweet

Presidents gather in oval office
esterday’s post on the “extraordinary gathering” of American presidents – Carter, the elder Bush, Clinton, the younger Bush, and Obama – elicited various comments from readers. I agree with all of them, the sweet and the bittersweet. (Scroll down to see a video on the meeting and read yesterday’s post.)

    “How sweet it is to see all of our Presidents together and well! I can only dream of being a fly on the wall,” wrote Ms. Aquino-Hughes. “GOD BLESS THEM ALL FOR YEARS TO COME.”
    “There’s no doubt the racial distinction was a major reminder of changes (many still to come) in the US,” sid Allan Schnaiberg. “But underlying this, I still recall the NPR interviews with McCain supporters a month after the election, where one reported ‘Obama is a humble man, who appreciates others’ knowledge, and George Bush was never humble enough to do that’. Humility doesn’t show in this picture, but it is a core value and one that our very best Presidents have shown.”
    Eoghan agrees that “the meeting of the Presidents is wonderful. I wish they would do it more often, and share knowledge and experience together….” I have the same wish.
    Responding to my observations about the homogeneous gender and religious affiliations of American presidents, Eoghan says these attributes are immaterial to him. This is the bittersweet comment. The sweet part is his gender-neutral, religion-neutral stance. The bitter is that we haven’t come that far in America. Race, gender, and religions matter – a lot – to most Americans.
    And, I concur with David Crumm’s observation: “There is something stirring in this scene… As bitterly as many of us have disagreed with decisions during the current Bush regime, we are in the midst of a collegial transition, not a coup or a clash of militias… At the heart of our American governance is this remarkable process of peaceful transition. I think we’ve got to take a moment like this just to salute that fact.”
    Indeed. No coup, no military junta, no violence, no guillotine, no suspension of liberties, no civil war. And this will be the 43rd peaceful transition in the history of our great nation.
As the inauguration approaches, what are your thoughts?
    Your aspirations? Your worries?
    Your hopes?


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