Sunday, 15 February 2009

Obama's Inaugural Speech

I read, with interest, the text of Barack Obama's inaugural presidential speech.  This was, after all, the text that he would use to frame his presidency; the actuality over and above the electioneering.  There were several points that caught my attention, and not all were good.  

They range from the philosophically misleading:

the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

(misleading in the sense that this "equality" sentiment is assumed to be the default condition of nature, but it is not; that "freedom" is only true in the negative sense, but not in the sense of freedom from sin; that there is a thing that we all deserve, but there is not; overall claiming the Christian Bible as his source, but that the US Constitution would hav been a more accurate citation) the threatening:

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

(implying that America is currently the guardian of the right side of history, and that it will use its currently-clenched fist to enforce the American way) the hopeful:

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

(indicating that American foreign policy will expand beyond the Bush doctrine of "the national interest" to include matters of humanity,not just national borders).

I will watch with interest.

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