It's only fitting that the neverending incompetence of the Bush administration was displayed one last time in its final seconds. Supreme Court Chief Justice and Bush appointee John Roberts couldn't even administer the oath of office correctly, embarrassing the incoming president.
But all things considered, it was the nooner for which Americans have been waiting for four unnaturally long years. For today, on January 20, 2009, Americans left work to turn on not their spouses but their TVs to watch Barack Obama take the presidential oath of office. The long national nightmare is ending and the long national orgasm is commencing apace.
The one promise that I was glad to see George W. Bush break was his vow to deal with Iran before leaving office. But we can breathe a sigh of relief. There will be no Republican version of High Noon in which the marshall stays past the end of his watch to singlehandedly deal with vicious bad guys. The transfer of power was smooth, dignified and orderly. Yet, sadly, we couldn't take even that Constitutional function for granted.
Instead, at High Noon another marshall came into town, tall, dark and handsome and cooler than Will Smith, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson and Denzel Washington combined.
Vice President Biden first took the oath of office from Justice Stevens. Former Vice President Henry Potter (hereafter referred to as Hell on Wheels), relieved of the burden of the presidency, collapsed inwardly into a handful of dust in the seat of his wheelchair to then be blown into John Boehner's face. Before this, a bright blue light and an unholy aria screamed by billions of lost, trapped, tortured souls rose from the dust and to heaven.
After the transposed words of the oath of office prat-fell out of Chief Justice Yoda's mouth ("Swear to uphold Constitution faithfully you will, mmm?"), Obama then did a kick-ass impersonation of Dr. Martin Luther King (or Jimmy Carter, depending on your reception) as he lowered his shoulders and dealt one devastating body blow after another to the Bush junta and the Republican party in general in his inaugural address:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.
But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed.
But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.
To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
Boxing gloves or velvet gloves: He still landed all his shots with pinpoint accuracy.
Oh yeah. Thanking Bush for his service to our country was disingenuous graciousness. Bush's tepid applause after President Obama's inaugural address showed that he's just barely smart enough to know that his successor faced him. Time and time and time again. As he tapped his cat burglar gloves together, Bush's face had a look as if he'd just caught Stephen Colbert rear-ending Laura. One can only imagine the whining he must've done at Hangar 6 at Andrews AFB as he said goodbye to his criminal accomplices (Furtive and secretive to the end and beyond, the speech was closed to the press, unlike Bill Clinton's 8 years ago).
Much has been made (especially by yours truly) of Obama's troubling centrism, his reaching out to Republicans in the interests of bipartisanship. But this speech, while consisting primarily of broad strokes for reform and platitudes, gave me the unmistakable impression that this President will be willing to work with Republicans only until he gets burned, that he's not planning on working with Republican hardliners as much as he's planning on using them. And that if they do burn him, there will be repercussions.
Later, here in central Massachusetts, the stubborn gray clouds parted and the sun began shining through. I don't always believe in signs but I can recognize natural and coincidental phenomenon when it's apt. And I think this is apt.