Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration 2009: The Difference

A very important point was made at Obama's Inauguration yesterday.

Rancid Rick Warren and Jumbling John Roberts sounded like the arrogant idiots they are because they approached the event with oversized egos. They wanted to be considered as big and important as Barack Obama. So, in their attempts to appear large and in charge, they came across as so small. Rancid Rick took the podium without a written invocation. In and of itself, this was no big deal. But, this event was larger than life. The enormity of the occasion required a prepared speech because anything could happen. The most embarrassing thing is you could forget every word you practiced endlessly to say. Rancid Rick came unprepared because he thought it would be sufficient just to wing it, like he's probably done his entire life. In other words, he believed his basic boiler plate spiel should've been enough for this extraordinary event. What this corpulent cretin ended up doing was blowing the entire invocation. The more he tried to make his words seem lofty, the more he sounded hollow and self-absorbed. Instead of him cutting his losses by shortening his ridiculous rant, he kept on trying to "fix" it. He rudely and crudely rambled on and on and on. It appeared everyone heaved a sigh of relief when he finally crawled off the podium. Jumbling John Roberts made the exact same mistake. He didn't come prepared with a little slip of paper with the oath of office on it, just in case the moment overwhelmed him. He tried to approach the oath as an equal to or even better than Obama. He tried to turn a constitutional formality into a coronation. His sheer arrogance at this most sacred, historic moment forced him to fail spectacularly. The very fact the frantic frothers in the right-wing blogosphere spent so much energy trying to cover up his failure speaks for itself. Both of these arrogant, self-important slackers failed because they were more interested in how they came across and whether or not their places in the historic record were secure. Pride always comes before the fall. This truth was never more evident than in the fumbling futility of Rancid Rick and Jumbling John.

Now, Builder Barack Obama and Jubilent Joe Lowry took the opposite approach to this special event. They were humbled by the scope and sacredness of the ceremony. Barack said he was humbled in the first words he spoke after taking the oath of office. He deliberately toned down his lofty rhetoric to make this point. He wanted humility to rule the day, not overblown oration. This was no accident. This man is so special because he truly makes an effort to do the right things for the right reasons. This point alone should humble us in his presence. In other words, we can rest assured truth and justice will prevail in his administration. Finally, we have a president for ALL of our people. Jubilent Joe Lowry gave the best speech of the day because it was so simple. His sense of wonderment about the entire event was overwhelming. His humor-filled humility was breathtaking. His line about blacks get back, browns stick around and so forth was surprisingly lighthearted because it was unexpected. He took the weight off the entire scene with his innocent humor. It was a perfect way to end that part of the festivities. His little quip has been used by black preachers for decades. It wasn't new. Like Dr. King and his epic "I have a dream," he wasn't the first to say these words. Pastors have been dreaming and preaching for ages. It was the melding of these words with the moment which made them magical. More important, it was the stunning humility behind them. King used soaring rhetoric. Lowry used soft-spoken charm. We will never forget their words because they've been burned into our memories forever. Humility was the awesome fire that King, Lowry and Obama used.

Ironically, everything worked out for the best. Barack got a lot of backlash over the Warren choice. He tried to counter this revolt by choosing a gay bishop to speak, as well. This move didn't assuage the gay and lesbian voters who believed he was throwing them under a politically expedient bus. After all, many of them worked hard to get him elected. But, this falderol had an unanticipated consequence. The obvious arrogance of Rancid Rick and Jumbling John gave Obama another chance to contrast his message of meeting the needs of the future against their message of groveling to the greed of the past. Once again, in unambiguous detail, the American people were shown why they voted for Obama. It was a choice between utter arrogance and simple humility. In the end, the American people chose wisely.

Franklin L. Johnson


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