Inauguration 1981

 Like most Americans, I was impressed with the splendor and excitement of last week’s presidential inauguration and, like many Americans, I was disappointed by the universally sour attitude towards our outgoing president and the excessively silly pomp surrounding the ceremony. 

Three days later, I was wandering around Las Vegas’s newest library, Centennial Hills, and browsed their used bookstore before leaving.  I noticed a large hardcover with a picture of the White House on the cover.  Picking it up, I saw that it was A Great New Beginning: The 1981 Inaugural Story.  Feeling the mirthful hand of serendipity guiding me, I gave the librarian a dollar for it and left.

The first thing that struck me was the chapter on Vice President Bush’s family; the pictures of son George Bush, Jr. alone more than made my dollar worth it.  I assume that, since this book has presumably been out of print for more than a quarter century, I’m OK reproducing a few pictures.  In this family portrait, he’s on our left:

 

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He’s leaning over in the back of this one, in front of his wife Laura.  His paragraph in the chapter describes him as a 34-year-old business executive (a graduate of Harvard and Yale), who “owns his own company in Texas.” 

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The Use and Abuse of Barack Obama

Which argument is better?

A) The world is round because, you know, it just like totally is and everybody knows it.

B) The world is flat because, if perception is reality, then we must acknowledge that most aspects of our lives are based on an understanding of the world being flat: we don’t see the curvature of the Earth with any regularity, so we are comfortable with two dimensional maps and measure the fastest travel routes over land, not through the ground. 

While the premise of argument A is true, argument B is superior.  Ideally, we want arguments that are both true and intelligently defended, but that is neither here nor there.  My point is that too many people today are comfortable with the first kind of thinking, and such logical sloppiness can only lead to trouble. 

Sadly, this is the case with the election of Barack Obama. 

I don’t have anything against President Obama personally, nor do I wish ill for him or his administration.  I hope he turns out to be the greatest president we’ve ever had, because that would be good for the country.  This is not a criticism of him, but it is absolutely a criticism of many who voted for him.  I don’t fault anyone for voting their conscience, and anyone who voted for him because they considered and prefered his politics has my respect, but just as I cannot respect someone who says the Earth is round because “it just like totally is,” I cannot respect the vote of someone who elected a man for the wrong reason.

Barack Obama became president of the United States not because of his experience, policies, or vision, nor even his character.  Barack Obama won the election because he’s black.  Besides the fact that fully 96% of black voters opted for Obama, the race factor is baldly advertised with such blatantly racist posturing as Tom Brokaw trumpeting Obama’s election as a slap in the face to “bigots and rednecks,” Joseph Lowery’s scathing indictment of white people during a prayer at the inauguration when he yearned for a time “when white will embrace the right,” and even hinted at when Obama himself pronounced in his inauguration speech that his election was a victory of “hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.”  (Does this mean that a vote for McCain was a vote for fear?  How so?  And how tactless is that to say?)

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