No Such Nonsense

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Monday, January 19, 2009

On the Inauguration

I've found myself with a lump in my throat more than a few times since the election in November - and in awe of the moment more than once too. I still, at times, can't take in that the American people really elected Barack Obama - little known just 5 years ago, inter-racial son of single mother - as their President. It says to me that the American empire may yet endure.

The sense of history that surrounds this week is nicely captured in this Slate article, in which Dahlia Lithwick notes that Obama will take his oath using the same bible once used for the same purpose by Abraham Lincoln. The chief justice, she explains, who held the bible that day for Lincoln's inauguration was the same one who wrote the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case. In that case, the Supreme Court in essence decreed that Blacks were not, and never could be, American citizens. For 100 years, despite the efforts of Lincoln and others and even universal suffrage, true equal rights remained elusive. And now, in just 40 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Obama will become president.

The audacity of hope, indeed.


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