- No Tit for Tat. For eight years, Republicans have been fuming over the 2009 Inauguration crowd booing George W. Bush. Many wondered if the 2017 throng would do the same to Obama.
They did not. Which party is the civil party?
- If only it could be a harbinger…Nah. For all the network’s transgressions during the campaign and after, CNN’s coverage throughout the day has been remarkably upbeat, factual, and fair.
The sourest note in the media commentary that I caught was on Fox News, where Juan Williams pronounced Trump’s speech as the likely work of advisor Steve Bannon and described it as far from unifying. I have to wonder about anyone who would listen to that speech and call it divisive, but I’m sure Williams will have company. The speech sure sounded like 100% Trump to me.
- The Address. It is refreshing to hear a major political speech from a President that isn’t full of soaring language that obviously is a speechwriter’s creation. I was initially dubious of Trump’s reported decision to write his own Inaugural address, but now that I have heard it, I realize that a President who presented himself to voters as unfiltered and genuine had no other choice, lest he appear false and hypocritical. The speech wasn’t eloquent, but it was, as CNN commentators said, historic. Trump didn’t use “I” but “we.” The speech was non-partisan, equally indicting both parties. One could imagine Bernie Sanders giving the same speech with few changes. The pledges Trump made will be hard to keep: If he knows that, then he was courageous to make them.
If he doesn’t know it, he is frightening naive. We shall see.
- Praise is due to Senator Roy Blunt for producing a tight, professional event that every American can be proud of. He did this despite the despicable efforts of the show business community and others to discourage and intimidate talent so that the Inauguration and related events would not be worthy of nation. They failed, he succeeded. Thank-you, Senator.
Like so much of the bitter, nasty, un-American conduct of beaten Hillary supporters, the efforts to harm the event only harmed Trump’s opposition, and alienated everyone else.
- Ethics Hero: 16-year-old Jackie Evancho, who gave a heartfelt rendition of the National Anthem after a month of social media abuse and death threats. She sang in a slightly immature but lovely soprano, and unlike Beyoncé four years ago, actually used her own voice, eschewing lip-syncing. At its launching, at least, the Trump Presidency didn’t begin with deception. A young teen tackled a difficult composition under challenging conditions, and pulled it off without resorting to fakery, like the superstar who had the job before her.
- “..And yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on…” Anyone who reads the Sullivan Ballou letter, made famous in Ken Burns’ “Civil War” documentary, is aces with me. Good for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Also behaving graciously all day and one of the few Democratic leaders who didn’t look miserable was Nancy Pelosi. Maybe all of her ugly partisanship is role-playing after all.
She might want to consider hauling out her non-partisan persona more often. She’s really good at it.
- Well THAT didn’t work! Kudos are also due to the new First Lady. Despite one of the more petty efforts to sabotage the Inauguration, the mean attempt by designers to organize a fashion boycott to, I don’t know, what—force Melania and Ivanka to dress in burlap?—Mrs. Trump’s outfit drew universal raves, and deservedly so.
- President Obama was beyond reproach. He played President as well as anyone has, and I rank him right up with FDR, Reagan and Kennedy in that respect. Oh, I think it would have been wonderful and healing if we could have seen Obama and Trump walking close together, smiling and chatting like pals.
That would be asking too much, I guess.
- Yes, it bothered me that the crowd was so relentlessly white. Blame the Congressional Black Caucus and a the black citizens who chose not to attend for that. They wanted the Inauguration to appear exclusive, and made it so.
- The protesters who had announced that they wanted to stop the swearing-in never got close to the Capitol, so they started rioting, throwing rocks and chunks of cement at police. The politicians, pundits, celebrities and social media users who loosely spoke of “resistance” share responsibility for this. When nobody is forcing you to do something, resistance tends to take the form of pointless, stupid violence.
As it has since I watched my first Inauguration as a boy, the grand symbolic transfer of power today made me proud to be a citizen of the United States. It also reminded me of why the American Presidency has been among my greatest passions since the Fifth Grade. As for those who can’t understand that, I am sincerely sorry for them.