Some random observations and thoughts on this historic day:
As exciting and inspiring as the day was, I'm sure glad I wasn't in DC. You couldn't pay me. Crowded, cold, jacked up prices and one port-o-john per 1,000 people? No thank you. That's what television is for.
Rick Warren's invocation was dreadful, truly an awful embarrassment. Sure, I can appreciate the rationale and the politics behind the choice, but Obama should never have invited this self-aggrandizing, sectarian crackpot.
So in administering the oath, Chief Justice Roberts and Obama fumbled the exchange. Is this disconnect between the President and the Chief Justice a sign of things to come?
On to the speech. It was good speech and Obama did an excellent job. But for all of the eloquence and inspiration, the substance of his address wasn't all that remarkable or memorable. What will be remembered by history is the occasion, not the actual speech.
I still think my favorite line of his speech was: "We will restore science to its rightful place." Refreshing.
One other interesting touch was Obama's inclusion of "non-believers." I'm trying to remember an occasion when a U.S. President even acknowledged atheists or agnostics as valued citizens. That's pretty amazing when you consider that atheists and agnostics comprise somewhere between 15 and 20% of the population.
(And to be fair, we can argue that it's not accurate to refer to atheists as "non-believers." Atheists believe...they believe in reason and explanations of the world based on evidence).
I liked the classical music - I thought it sounded great.
But did we really need the poet?
It was interesting that the one historical figure that Obama quoted at length was George Washington. An unsual choice, especially for a liberal politician. You'd expect maybe Jefferson, FDR, Lincoln, Kennedy or MLK. Why Washington? Because Washington strived to appear above partisanship and to put love of country, and the greater good, first. He wasn't really above partisanship - he was both human and a politician, but that was the ideal that he stood for. Obama was clever to tap into that.