In a swift, bold move, President Barack Obama put an end to former President George W. Bush’s war on the Constitution and freedom, ending his predecessor’s so-called "war on terror" and signaling to the world that, from now on, the United States will abide by the rule of law.
A prison at Guantanamo Bay would have made sense if it had been run as a normal prisoner of war camp, subject to the Geneva Conventions and international inspection. Instead, it doubled as an interrogation center subject to its own arbitrary rules. The intense secrecy only gave credence to tales of prisoner abuse, founded or unfounded, and this in turn was compounded by the Bush administration’s plans for one-sided trials.
Now the hard part begins.
Following the promise must be the delivery and that will be daunting.
There is the banking crisis and the housing crisis and the auto crisis and the job crisis and the credit crisis and the panic crisis and the energy crisis and the global warming crisis and the myriad of overseas crises including two wars, all of them separate but linked. Welcome to the Oval Office, Mr. President.
After delivering a startlingly change-oriented inaugural address, President Barack Obama is finding out that change is possible but it is not easy.
Obama’s 2,396-word, new-era-of-responsibility speech, in the presence of 1.8 million mesmerized Americans and heard via television and the Internet by millions around the world, was a firm, fierce indictment of the policies of the past eight years.
In his first full day as President, Barack Obama went to work dismantling former President George W. Bush’s policies and imprint upon the federal government.
A freeze on enforcing the tidal wave of pending regulations signed by Bush in his final days in office, a meeting with Pentagon officials to start work on withdrawal from the Iraq war, closing the controversial prison at Guantanimo, freezing White House pay and new restrictions on lobbying were among Obama’s initial moves.
And more will come in the coming days, weeks and months.
Can we get back to normal now? Can we get down to addressing the myriad of problems that plague us? Can our feet touch the ground and our minds grasp reality?
Being in Washington this past week has been like living in a dream world, where everyone’s excited, happy, rich, starry-eyed, star-studded and fancy free. This is nothing like the real United States where stocks have lost trillions of dollars in value, credit is ridiculously tight, unemployment is at record highs, houses are being ripped out from under defaulting owners and jobs do not exist.
Inaugurations are extraordinary events. They are as much for the people as for the new president, which is as it should be. We the people want to be involved, and not just because we are desperate for entertainment in the dead of winter.
When you stop to think about it, most of us will go through life without ever being inaugurated for anything, let alone president of the United States.
Before a jubilant crowd of more than a million, Barack Hussein Obama claimed his place in history as America’s first black president, summoning a dispirited nation to unite in hope against the "gathering clouds and raging storms" of war and economic woe.
The inauguration of Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois as the 44th President of the United States Tuesday is an historic occasion in ways subtle and obvious. As the first African-American to hold the highest national office, he personifies a particularly important milestone.
Race relations have been very challenging throughout American history. Abolition of slavery ultimately involved the Civil War, the most costly-armed conflict by far for Americans, with over 600,000 deaths.
As inspiring as our new president’s inaugural address was, both to a nation shaken by the shattering of economic institutions and to a world anguished by suffering intentionally inflicted upon humans by other humans, Barack Obama’s eloquent words were merely the day’s second most meaningful message.