Inauguration goes beyond all hype and hoopla

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Amid all the hype and hoopla, it's easy to forget just what we are celebrating with today's inauguration in Washington.

Nearly forty one years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., not only did we celebrate his birthday with a national holiday on Monday, but today we are installing an African-American man into the highest office in the land.

It took a combination of one of the most unpopular presidents in history, with one of the most eloquent, poised candidates who ever offered himself up for office, plus an unpopular war, and now the most serious financial crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, to bring us to this point.

The inauguration of President Barack Obama certainly won't put an end to racism or prejudice, but it certainly proves the fallacy of the ideas behind them.

It's easy to draw parallels between Obama and King, Obama and Kennedy -- the first Catholic president, or even Obama and Lincoln, another president from Illinois.

But Barack Obama's inauguration as president is significant beyond race or religion or social standing.

The year 2008 didn't turn out to be the year that the first woman was elected to the highest job in the land, but it did reinforce the most important point. Provided they're born in America, anyone can grow up to be president.

And despite differences we may hold in important issues, it behooves all of us, in this time of war and financial crisis, to wish the best of success for our new commander-in-chief.

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