NPR's copyandpasted a pretty darn good inaugural speech for Obama's consideration, and it's got me to thinking what I would like him to say.
It's his inaugural, so I don't need thoughts on, say, why his "brilliant" choice for Treasury Sec can't figure out his own taxes (why is no one else distressed by this? either a. he is sloppy [bad], b. he doesn't pay close attention to things [bad], or c. he was purposefully dishonest and is now trying to clean it up before the GOP noticed [bad]; anyway, no matter how brilliant he is, I would be more comfortable with someone who has his own house in order); instead I would rather here some lofty sentiments grounded in reality. I don't need promises (he's already made plenty of those) and I don't need empty rhetoric (rhetoric itself is fine so long as it's not empty).
Really, I'm not sure what I want. We reread Lincoln's Inaugurals for great reasons: after all, he is one of our nations greatest writers of any stripe, and he new enough to keep it short and sweet. (Longest inaugural: William Henry Harrison, 1841, 8,445 words --- it killed him. Let that be a lesson to all presidents.)
We reread Washington's because they are some of the best and most succinct definitions of America we have.
I don't feel America needs to be redefined or even redirected much. But America does need a renewed sense of self (who doesn't) and to project A*M*E*R*I*C*A to the world. These are things Obama seems adept at.
But I don't know why I'm talking. I may not even watch it. Next Tuesday is going to be craaaaazeee for me. I may just have to wait for it to be anthologized.....