About That Inaugural Stuff

With no attempt to find a coherent theme . . .

First, before the speech, how about John Roberts butchering the oath? And how cool was it to see the president on a national stage while someone else mumbled and bumbled and fumbled their words? Even more than my relief at the death of his policies is my joy at never having to listen to George Bush give another speech.

Second, this might have been my favorite line from the speech:

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers.

“And non-believers!?” What? Doesn’t he know the atheists and their no-believing-in-god selves are the cause of all this country’s problems? (Well, them and the homersexshuls)  God is punishing all of us for their evil non-beliefs. Doesn’t he know that? Doesn’t he watch the 700 club? Didn’t he listen to POTUS wannabe Mitt Romney when he told us it was critically important for people of all faiths to unite against those with none? Apparently not. Good for Obama.

Third, I like this section, too:

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.

If he takes that seriously, the first government project to die won’t be the War in Iraq, it’ll be the War on Drugs. Whatever little good it has done is far, far outweighed by the direct and collateral costs.

Fourth, now on the POTUS website:

“While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.”

— Barack Obama, June 1, 2007

He then lists policy goals, I disagree with some, but heartily applaud these:

  • Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
  • Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
  • Repeal Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell: President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
  • Expand Adoption Rights: President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.

That’s straight from the White House website. Let’s hope Congress follows the lead and has the guts to do what’s rational and right.

Finally, cynic that I am, it was almost moving to watch that inaugural address with my students and my fellow teachers, an audience about ninety per cent African American. As a history teacher and political junkie, I know what Obama’s election means. The folks in that room with me know and feel what it means. Being with them as he officially became president? Well, that felt good.

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