Monday, January 21, 2013

Obama's Public Inaugural

And so Barack H. Obama begins a second term as president of the United States.

All the pomp and ceremony missing from the private inaugural (the one that counts) on Sunday January 20 was present today as Obama placed his hand on a Bible and solemnly swore to uphold the Constitution, something his critics would argue he has not really done these past four years.

A black woman whose name I missed mentioned Jesus in her remarks; the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”; Joe Biden took the oath of office for the vice presidency without any of the gaffes for which he is infamous; James Taylor strummed an acoustic guitar and offered a tasteful – and dull – rendition of “America the Beautiful”; and, finally, John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who fumbled when administering the oath four years ago, proved more competent today when swearing in our 44th president for a second term.

“America’s possibilities are endless,” Obama said, one of its strengths being “a gift for reinvention.”


It sounds like he read my book, Rediscovering America: Benjamin Franklin and the American Dream. He has two copies, sent on December 9, 2012, accompanied by a letter that read in part:

“I have always been intrigued by your claim that the United States was in need of ‘perfecting.’ You reiterated this belief on election night when you said, ‘the task of perfecting our union moves forward.’ Such ideas were on my mind fifteen years ago when I wrote the three essays that comprise my book, Rediscovering America, two copies of which I have enclosed as a gift for you and Mrs. Obama. It is a short read, but an enlightening one. The essays - "America and the Perfectibility of Man," "James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son: Loving and Leaving America," and, particularly, "The Pattern American" - examine the beliefs upon which our country was founded and attempt to describe the common characteristics of its inhabitants. If Benjamin Franklin was, as author D.H. Lawrence believed, “the pattern American,” how has Franklin’s model for success inspired others, particularly those outside the mainstream like Baldwin, an African-American writer, and Scott Peck, a gay teenager?”

So, why didn’t he mention my name?


(Excuse the shameless plug.)

© 2013 Brian W. Fairbanks


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