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I know everyone is thrilled about the inauguration; I certainly am. I don’t mean to throw any cold water on it, but I nonetheless thought I’d take a second look at the inaugural address, with which I was underwhelmed.
The full text is here.
I found it banal, full of platitudes and remarkably empty of substance. While platitudes are perhaps to be expected, I was surprised to find it inelegant as well (To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow. . . ugh)
Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.
This is a curious bit of equivocation. Our economy is badly weakened primarily because everyone, centrist Democrats like Obama included, was sold on “Washington consensus” neoliberalism and was willing to let the foxes guard the hen house. Unfortunately, based on Obama’s appointments we’ve seen a lot more “same we can’t believe in” than change, at least so far. Rather audacious to blame our economic woes on a “collective failure,” unless he’s just talking about Washington and Wall Street.
[Our journey] has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.
Wait, what? I know it’s no good to enjoy leisure at times when work is appropriate. But is it really a bad thing to prefer leisure to work? Says who, Cotton Mather? (OK, this is a quibble, and I know work is on people’s minds right now, but this sort of mindless puritanism grates.)
On the other hand, I was pleased with the inclusion of the following
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.
Especially the non-believers part.
What did you think?