Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The United States' forty-fourth president, Barack Hussein Obama has started his historic presidency on the wrong foot. Right off the bat he flubbed the Oath of Office. I can hardly blame him, since he must have been nervous at such a big event. That can be overlooked, however, what can't be overlooked is his surprisingly mediocre speech and some of the other controversial words spoken at the ceremony.

His first actual mistake of his presidency was in the third line of his speech: "Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath." This is wrong. Forty-three men have taken the oath. Grover Cleveland took the oath twice by serving two non-consecutive terms. There have been 44 administrations, but only 43 men have served as chief executive. Could this be the first of many more mistakes to come?
For the sake of the country, I hope not. But, then again, the day posed more troubling questions.

The new president's inauguration speech, words that he had reportedly spent two days in seclusion writing, was extremely disappointing. Rather than give specific examples, all you need to know is that the speech tried to do too much. It was very general, without specifics, and will not leave a lasting impression. Obama's dry delivery was probably the worst part. There was no passion at all. Obama gave some wonderful speeches in his campaign, and was hailed by many as a great speaker. This one fell well short of any of them. He is regarded a rock star to all who voted for him. I would rate the inauguration speech as a near failure.

A curious decision was the choice of ceremony's speakers. The Reverend Joseph Lowery gave the Benediction and said: "Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. His words borders on racism suggesting that white people have yet to do the 'right thing' and accept all. Lowery still lives in the sixties and is ignorant of the fact that the American people have long move past those attitudes. Elizabeth Alexander recited an absolutely incomprehensible original poem that I doubt anyone listening to it could understand. I was completely dumbfounded with the choice of these people. Is this the best America could do?

President Obama comes into office with high expectations. They certainly may not been met, if his first day is any indication. Our first African-American president may have made some serious errors delivering a lack luster speech and presiding over an empty ceremony. It could be a rough next four years for the United States. I hope not.

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