A New Day in America

A colleague told me as we walked into our office together, “Michael, you have a little extra bounce in your step today.” Yes, I do. I love a Presidential Inauguration Day. I enjoy soaking in the history, the formalities, the reflections of past inaugurations and speeches that today brings. For a Republic, it is hard to imagine a day more special than today.

From staying at Blair House, attending a church service, riding to the U.S. Capitol with the soon-to-be former President, the music, poetry and of course the oath of office and inaugural speech are all fascinating for this political junkie to watch.  Then to top it off, we watch the former President depart D.C. quietly as the new President takes a slow ride back to the White House for a grand parade in his honor.

For me, other than special moments with my family, the days that I always have that “extra bounce in my step” are Election Days, a Papal Conclave (which is the oldest ongoing method for choosing the leader of an institution), day of the Indianapolis 500 and Presidential Inauguration Day. These are special days and today will certainly be a day to remember.
Today, all of us — Democrat, Republican or Libertarian — should be optimistic. We should all be supportive of President Obama and truly wish him well as he leads us for the next four years. Let us not forget that we live in the most powerful nation on earth and we will watch another peaceful transfer of power between individuals of different political parties. History teaches us how rare this is.

Yes, today is a new day in America. Let’s ALL enjoy it.

Least Impressive Inauguration Speeches in American History

Yahoo! News ran an interesting article today (linked on Huffington Post) featuring some of the worst inauguration speeches presidents have ever made. Let’s hope President Obama can avoid this list. I found Thomas Jefferson’s to be most interesting, mainly because of the caustic nature in which he went after the media (some things are timeless):

After a soaring first address in 1801, Thomas Jefferson was reelected and offered a sophomore effort that was an angry, monotone dud, historians say. Bitter at the "licentious" media and four years of attacks on his administration, the president was on the defensive and not as his inspirational best:

"During this course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been leveled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science, are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness, and to sap its safety; they might, indeed, have been corrected by the wholesome punishments reserved and provided by the laws of the several States against falsehood and defamation; but public duties more urgent press on the time of public servants, and the offenders have therefore been left to find their punishment in the public indignation."

Can anyone else not pronounce "licentious?" I keep saying "licenshish." Anyway…

The worst likely remains William Henry Harrison’s (described in the article), whose 8,000-word address in the dead of winter may have ended up killing him. Now that’s a rough speech.