Can there be any question as to what My One Favorite Thing this week was? Could it be any more obvious?? I mean, clearly, it was Rick Warren’s Invocation Speech. Duh. What a beautiful testimonial to the goodness of god, the power of prayer and the righteousness of Scripture!
Ok, ok, i keeeed. i keeeed. MOFT of the week was obviously the Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, which more than two million people witnessed in person, and another 38 million people saw on the telly. It was a glorious event, and nothing – not a less-than-perfect handling of crowd control and seating, not a bungled recitation of the oath of office, not an inaugural speech that lacked the fancy rhetoric and beautiful poetry of some of Obama’s best performances, not another sickening 5%-plus stock market decline, and not even the presence of one anti-gay reverend could dampen the meaning and importance of last Tuesday.
The hard part for Obama and for the rest of America is still to come. The president is not just trying to lower expectations when he talks of the difficulties this country is facing. They are serious, and they are numerous. And there are no guarantees for success. Obama may be intelligent and well-spoken, flexible and principled – qualities sorely lacking in the White House these last eight years – but the questions of his competence and capabilities won’t be answered for some time. We should keep a watchful eye on his performance, and guard against the kind of blind loyalty and lack of reflection many on the other side fell victim to in recent years.
But last Tuesday, for the first time in a long time, it made sense to hope that better times are ahead. It made sense to hope that America could be all that it once was and more – productive, respected, compassionate, true to its most hallowed ideals – for we now have a leader who seems up to the enormous tasks at hand.
For one day, at least, hope felt like it was more than just an empty word, more than just a campaign slogan. It felt real. Tangible. Something you could hold onto. And for one day, at least, that was more than enough reason to smile.