Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And So It Begins

Incredibly, I have now hit the wall on Inauguration coverage on TV and the internet, so I can only imagine how normal people must feel about it by now. I really don't think I can watch another dance at another Ball tonight, so it is clearly time to call it a day.

But what a wonderful day to have witnessed. I have struggled to devise some fitting words to sum up the meaning and impact of this day, but haven't come up with anything even remotely near the mark. But the following comes closer than anything I have seen to meeting that purpose, and this is what I want to say:

[He] is here not only to sweeten the air...but to clear the infected atmosphere of American history itself, tainted with official sins and inherited guilt. He would cleanse the Constitution...[h]e altered the document from within, by appeal from its letter to its spirit, subtly changing the recalcitrant stuff of that legal compromise, bringing it to its own indictment. By implicitly doing this, he performed one of the most daring acts of open-air sleight-of-hand ever witnessed by the unsuspecting. Every one in that vast throng...departed with a new thing in [their] ideological luggage, that new Constitution [he] had substituted for the one they had brought there with them. They walked off...under a changed sky, into a different America.

~ Garry Wills, Lincoln at Gettysburg

Today was a wonderful day. There will, alas, be days to come that are terrible, and some that will be unbearable. The world is not perfected by virtue of this day. But it is different. It is better. And under this changed sky, in this different America, we will draw strength from our common purpose. And we will prevail.

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