Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Impressions of the inauguration

I was touched by the inauguration today overall, but certain aspects left me thinking...

-The kids that are little now won't remember a time before we had a black president. Imagine that!

-I hadn't seen a lot of coverage of Obama during the campaign. He strikes me as reserved; very hard to read. That could be a plus as he seems good at holding his tongue. But I hope he will loosen up a little too sometimes.

-Everyone seemed amazed by the speech. I think it was well-written but I didn't really hear anything new. He basically reiterated what he had said a lot during his campaign.

-I'm sad about what is going to happen with abortion laws now.

-I think for raising national morale the inauguration was a success, and Americans are generally in a state of euphoria. But I'm wondering about foreign relations. I care about domestic policies too, but as I live overseas a lot of the time, I think more now about how the U.S. is regarded abroad. I think that people in other nations are hopeful about the changes Obama will bring. But Obama's message was very "We're number 1." If he talked about brotherhood, it was more in a sense of between Americans. He did mention helping starving countries, and it is important to recognize that role as a wealthy nation. Yet it didn't seem to be along the lines of cooperation and negotiation.*

-The benediction was interesting but didn't seem very reverent. It was definitely in the spirit of tolerance and "we are all one." I was confused during one part when the reverend said, "Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will." (excerpt of transcript courtesy Federal News Service) Now, whose will was he talking about here? Is he implying that we all pray to the same god?

-I suppose it makes me uncomfortable that Obama is being hailed as a kind of savior. As he was speaking and everyone was cheering, I thought about how I don't really like to say "amen" when it's not in a church setting. If the person isn't standing on the authority of the Scriptures, can I fully support his ideas? How do I know whether or not President Obama is following the Lord?

But I don't have to know everything in order to be able to submit and pray for him.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. -Rom. 13:1

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. -1 Timothy 2:1

*EDIT: After publishing this, I took a look at the transcript of the speech. And I was wrong about Obama not mentioning cooperation.

He said:

"Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet."
Earlier in the speech, he had said:
"And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more." (emphasis mine; transcript courtesy ABC News)

It's this "ready to lead" phrase that I was referring to in terms of "we're number 1." It's possible that he meant we should be initiators of peace, rather than that we are the greatest. So I can't really be sure. But I think that Americans need to be careful of their speech, because we really do come across as arrogant sometimes.


  1. Good thoughts and questions... Hope you're doing well. Blessings!
    ~Melissa N.

  2. I wish I had more time lately to respond to your posts! They are so wonderful, but I'm so busy! I am glad you shared your impressions.


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