Obama spoke eloquently of the American pioneer spirit that helped build the country. In his twenty minute address as president, Obama could have been giving the State of the Union address, talking about where America stands as a nation, than giving a speech to herald his historic assumption of power. There was nothing particularly stirring or memorable about, just that it was business-like, cataloguing the job that needed to be done to put America back on top. â€œHomes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planetâ€ he said.
But what resounded mightily with the huge crowd that stretched from Capitol Hill to the foot of the Washington Memorial was the spirit of tolerance and love that Obama embodied during the campaign, the spirit of hope. Spontaneous applause and chants broke out every time Obamaâ€™s image appeared on the jumbo screens erected throughout the National Mall.
Inspired by Obamaâ€™s seemingly effortless ability to reach across the cultural and racial divide, the crowd was a pleasant one. Many braved the cold freezing morning air by singing together, blacks and whites holding hands, dancing, and sharing food. Wherever one looked people of all races stood shoulder to shoulder, huddled together for warmth.
President Obama also reiterated his belief that standing for Americaâ€™s security did not have to mean making a â€œchoice between our safety and our idealsâ€. It was a shot across the bow of departing former president George Bush whose enduring legacy was the use of shady, even unethical methods in the name of securing America. The new president made it plain that his job of protecting America must not turn America into a monster in the eye of the world.
Beyond domestic woes, Obama gave a glimpse of what his foreign policy will look like. Seemingly speaking to certain African leaders, Obama had a forward warning for corrupt self-promoting leaders hesitant to embrace and practice democratic ideals. â€œTo 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 fistâ€ he said to rapturous applause.
In the end, President Barack Obama greatest moment during the inauguration was not a stirring speech with ringing oratory and memorable lines as was the case during his campaign days. However, on this occasion the eloquence was spurn from the man himself rather than from his words. For the millions who stood in cold for several hours, and millions more around the world who watched on television, Obamaâ€™s swearing-in meant that the face of America had irrevocably changed. There could never be a first African American to become president, just an American president. Obama has destroyed the racial barrier that barred many racial minorities from aspiring to the highest office in the USA.
Oloya at Capitol Hill, Washington, DC