Monday, January 19, 2009

Revolutionary Joy over Obama

I have never seen a presidential transfer quite like this. The massive crowds, impromptu celebrations, and dancing in the streets is more like the aftermath of a revolution that an electoral exchange of power.

Inaugurations are non-events for most Americans. Presidents come, presidents go, it makes little difference to most citizens. In my lifetime the most anticipated transfer was from Carter to Reagan. Reagan was popular and Carter not. Republicans who has suffered through the Carter interregnum were happy at the return to warmongering and corruption but they were too rich and pompous to don silly hats and dance like fools. It was nothing like this.

There are comparisons to FDR's inauguration and not without cause. Three-quarters of a century ago, as now, a once great nation was on its knees. People want to believe. They want to believe in the United States again, they want to believe in the future again, and they want to believe in the man who has taken up this impossible burden.
FDR's Inaugural address electrified the nation. Frances Perkins said it was like a great revival meeting. People in the crowd wept. Raymond Moley said, "Well, he's taken the ship of state and turned it right around." "It changed everything," said another, and she spoke for millions. ~ Nothing to Fear, FDR in Photographs

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