Trippingly On The Tongue
There wasn't anything too surprising in President Obama's second inaugural speech. He spoke in the generalities we're used to in politics, but said enough to make it clear the next two years will be more about division than unification. And why not? He's got a Republican House, and if he could just replace it with a Democrat House, then he could get his way and go back to speeches where he reaches out to everyone.
The speech had an emphasis on collective over individual action that sometimes bordered on the surreal:
No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future. Or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses toour shores.
Who are these people claiming a single individual should train all teachers, or build all roads? (And if anyone is saying it, who is this individual they're referring to--I want to meet him.)
He did bring up climate change, though he seemed to say dealing with it will help our economy, rather than admitting the true trade-off--we have to be willing to significantly harm our fiscal well-being to avoid potentially worse ecological damage.
After speaking out for women's rights and gay rights, he made an odd statement:
Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.
So it's not enough to have the right, the government has to keep the line short. Fine with me, if that ethos spreads to lines for paying parking fines and other fees at government offices. (Of course, when it comes to Second Amendment rights, he's not as concerned about the limitations government places on citizens.)
Then there was this:
We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.
Noble words. So from now on, I assume the President and his party will be willing to give in to Republicans on major issues, not make a big deal about it to the press, and not say the GOP is hurting the country.