Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Barack Obama is now 44th President of USA

Chief Justice Roberts flubbed the oath of office, but we got through it. [Update: Obama also made a mistake–minor but embarassing for a student of history like the new president. He said that 44 Americans have now taken the  oath of office. Oops! He IS the 44th President, but only because Grover Cleveland served 2 non-consecutive terms, as 22nd and 24th President. So, only 43 Americans have taken the oath.  I wonder that none of his factcheckers caught that one. 🙂 ]

  Bush is gone. Obama has just signed his official nominations of his cabinet, many of whom will be confirmed today by unanimous consent of the Senate. (One senator is preventing that from being the case with Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State, so she will be confirmed tomorrow by roll call vote, which she will easily win.)

The crowds were huge.  The inaugural address was amazing, calling for both personal and governmental responsibility. He prepared the nation for tough times, but called us to sacrifice for the common good. He reached out to other nations, especially Muslim nations, in friendship and work for peace. He also promised poor nations that we would work beside them to achieve prosperity. He told terrorists that they could not defeat us, we would outlast and defeat them, but NOT while lowering our ideals to their levels for the sake of expediency. (Much hinting that swift action would be taken to close Gitmo and secret prisons, ban torture, by executive order.)

A call to clean energy and tackling climate change while rebuilding the economy.  But he reminded us to be primarily citizens rather than primarily consumers!!

A call to sacrifice with quotations from Washington, and allusions to JFK, Lincoln, I Corinthians, and much else. 

I cried like a baby.  I’ll return to “outsider social critic” tomorrow. Today, I am just a proud citizen–and it has been a LOONNGG time since I was proud of my country.

You can read the full text of the inaugural  address at this link.


January 20, 2009 - Posted by | U.S. politics


  1. What do you mean John Roberts flubbed the oath of office? Barack Obama is supposed to repeat what John Roberts says. Not that I care, since we all make mistakes, and gaffe-hunting is probably one of the childish things that Obama referred to in his speech. It’s just amazing that the liberal media is trying to turn Obama’s gaffe into Roberts’ gaffe.

    Comment by James Pate | January 20, 2009

  2. “Chief Justice Roberts flubbed the oath of office…”

    What version were you watching!? There was some flubbery on both sides, but clearly the president started it by cutting Roberts off before he got the first line out (I, Barak Obama, do solemnly swear…”). This probably threw Roberts off afterwards, as he misplaced a few words and added some others. Funny stuff! Ah well, I can’t judge, I would’ve fainted on the spot.

    But it was a good inaugural speech, indeed. Nothing over the top. Straightforward, compelling and unifying too.

    Comment by Chris Donato | January 20, 2009

  3. Oh, and, I still think it would’ve been much better if religion had been left out of the ceremonies altogether.

    Comment by Chris Donato | January 20, 2009

  4. Hi Michael.

    Thanks for actually having something positive to say about today’s ceremonies.

    I will come back later to read the rest of your blog, but I do like what I see here.


    Comment by bluecollar49 | January 20, 2009

  5. Chalk the flub up to history. If he is re-elected in four or eight years he won’t make the same mistake.

    Comment by ahrcanum | January 20, 2009

  6. Yes, ROBERTS flubbed the oath. First, he put “faithfully” in ghe wrong spot and then when Obama stopped to let him correct himself, he did it again. It’s no big deal: They probably said it right in private which is common. (LBJ was sworn in by a nearby federal judge on Air Force One after JFK was assassinated. Then they repeated the oath in public after the return to D.C.) But, according to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, Obama was president at noon today, whether or not he said the oath.

    Here is the oath as in the Constitution:
    “I [name] do solemly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The phrase “So help me God!” was spontaneously added by George Washington and every other president has followed suit.

    But Roberts put “faithfully” at the end of the phrase “President of the United States.” Obama tried to give him time to correct himself, but he didn’t.

    As for the LAME excuse that Obama interrupted Roberts, that is because Roberts failed to pause after “I, Barak Hussein Obama,” as almost all have done before. It’s amazing that Justice Stevens pulled this off perfectly, but Roberts, the rightwing idiot who is probably still mad at Obama for voting against his confirmation when a senator, screwed it up.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | January 20, 2009

  7. “Lame excuse”? No one’s giving excuses. It’s so insignificant as to barely worth mentioning. The fact is, the president flubbed the line because he was nervous.

    So much for “outsider social criticism.”

    Comment by Chris Donato | January 20, 2009

  8. Wow, I can’t believe we are actually making such a big deal out of such a little something.

    Comment by bluecollar49 | January 20, 2009

  9. Highlight of the day was Joseph Lowery’s prayer. But can’t believe he missed the chance to say, “if you’re gay, it’s okay!”

    Comment by Jonathan Marlowe | January 20, 2009

  10. According to the Constitution, Barack Hussein Obama became President of the United States of America at 12 Noon. He took the oath of office about 20-25 minutes later.And like a wise man said,”To err is human,to forgive devine”. I pray that President Obama is up to the difficult task that he has undertaken. History will be the judge of his presidency.

    Comment by Paul | January 20, 2009

  11. “Roberts, the rightwing idiot who is probably still mad at Obama for voting against his confirmation when a senator, screwed it up.”

    Seriously Michael, not a good show of Christlikeness here. Both of them were nervous and both messed up, but to take this as an opportunity to insult a man like Roberts who clearly is no idiot (as most Democrats have even noted) is classless. You really should apologize for this comment.

    Comment by D.R. Randle | January 21, 2009

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