Every inauguration is historic, each one a miracle of the peaceful transition of power in America.
“We have done this time and time again,” Marvin Kranz, an inauguration expert retired from the Library of Congress, told the Voice of America. “Every four years since 1789 and there has never been a revolution, there has never been a chance of an armed fight. It simply has taken place. We have accepted this.”
The miracle of peaceful transition is elevated today because Americans took the moral high ground to elect who we judged the more qualified candidate – regardless of skin color. That is another miracle in itself.
Barack Obama links his fate to Abraham Lincoln. He announced his candidacy for the presidency in Springfield, Illinois – the same place Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech. Starting Saturday in Philadelphia, Obama took the same journey by rail to Washington that Lincoln took. And today he takes the oath of office on Lincoln’s bible.
We remember Lincoln as the Great Emancipator, which means that his acts then did, indeed, link Obama to him. But it’s also important to recall that Lincoln was not an emancipator in his first term. As he said in his first inaugural address, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
Lincoln changed. American has too – that’s what I see today in Obama’s inauguration as our 44th president.
How about you?
What does the inauguration mean to you?
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