Henican: One sacrifice Bam wont make: Values
"I ... do solemnly swear to something or other.
That was Barack Obama, led astray by John Roberts.
Youd think the chief justice wouldnt flub one of the most famous passages in the whole Constitution. Then again, Roberts ad-hoc editing of the presidential oath probably explains some things about this courts casual disregard for the Geneva Convention and the Fourth Amendment.
Hey, theyre only words, right?It was a little weird, hearing the new president declare, I, Barack Hussein Obama twice. An of became a to. Faithfully jumped from one place to another. The verb execute was there and then it wasnt.
But yesterdays linguistic Cuisinart will quickly be forgotten, and a more important reality will sink in: Yes, Barack Obama is now president, and he has change in his eyes.
Summoning forth the best of the American spirit. Steeling the nation for tough times ahead. Laying the outlines for a serious reassessment of how we interact with the rest of the world.
There were many memorable lines in the speech. But none packed more meaning or signaled a greater break with the recent past than this: We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
It was the Bush administrations eagerness to sacrifice the latter for the former that explains much of the international mess we are in.
Winking at torture. Disrespecting diplomacy. Treating our allies like our servants. Acting as if our way is the only way for everybody else.
Since 9/11, fear for our safety has too often explained away our values, those precious beliefs that made us better than our enemies.
Loud and clear, on a chilly noon outside the Capitol, after a shaky Constitutional oath, Barack Obama made clear his break from this past.
Said the new president, finding truth in the struggles that got us here:
Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expediences sake.
Goodbye, 43. Hello, 44.