The inauguration today reminded us why we embraced Obama this side of the pond, with rhetoric and conviction that enthralled when most politicians give speeches that dry paint. By contrast this was a Monet painting the landscape of a country with a history of promise that the American people can still deliver on. The conviction politician is a breath of fresh air in these austere times.
Symbolism matters. The two bibles of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln sworn in on. The use of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. Remember it was Lincoln who used the revolutionary zeal of the author of America to rehabilitate Jefferson as a way of healing the union. That message of unity and these United States coming together was unmistakable in both the rhetoric and the symbolism.
Yet the big issues mentioned could not be more polarising. Public infrastructure needs government, enterprise, helping those that lose out in the natural lottery, welfare, climate change, using science, military power, civil rights for women and homosexuals.
The legacy of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement was to stop state sanctioned discrimination – the extent to which the executive can actually use the Federal government to achieve this will be the way he can work with Congress. Time to serenade the second branch of government.
A speech makes history when it changes the political agenda and leads to a sea change in the status quo. In a polarised nation, it will take more then being on the right side of the argument. The fire in the belly of the President today suggests that the man we saw in the first Presidential debate is now ready for the political fight to come.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog