WASHINGTON, D.C. -- You wouldnt be thought crazy if you believe God has a sense of humor. Who would have thunk about all of the things that had to come together for the inauguration, his second, of President Barack Obama? Just so happens, his inauguration was on the same day as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Some would say it was the pièce de rèsistance to a campaign that conquered the headwinds of unemployment, economy and inner demons of some who couldnt adjust to calling Obama, Mr. President.
Those were just a few of the thoughts rolling around in my head as I stood, like 800,000 others, on a chilly (not as cold as 2009) Washington, D.C. morning waiting for the president to recite his ceremonial oath of office (He took the real one Sunday).
As I looked around, I could tell the crowd was smaller than 2009, but crowded is still crowded. If you had tickets or not, long security lines to get to the mall area and along the parade route were the order of the day.
Packed like sardines with my grandson Lil Paul and my nephew Johnathan, we stood shoulder to shoulder with people from all over the world. No problems of people invading personal space, because there was none and good nature was everywhere.
While others have fixated on Michelle Obamas dress, her shoes and new bangs, I paid attention to what the president said and how he said it. There were instances where he channeled Dr. Kings I Have A Dream speech. Instead of I Have A Dream being the central focus, Obama used, We The People.
Just as King wrapped up his most famous speech rising with each utterance of I Have A Dream, Obama hit his stride with, Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.
Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.
Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity -- until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.
Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.
With each declarative sentence, shouts of approval grew louder. It was the largest church service Ive ever attended.
Republicans, however, took issue with his speech (surprise). Obama didnt offer an olive branch, rather, he chided them about issues from climate change to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He knows the game now. Hes tried bipartisan outreach and failed. It should be an interesting four years.
The crowd was filled with Americans that some would rather see disappear. They were, as Ralph Ellison said in his 1952 book,The Invisible Man -- invisible. But here they were facing the front of the nations Capitol, just 1.9 miles from the spot on the Lincoln Memorial where King, almost 50 years ago, talked about all of Gods children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics. Now, Barack Obama joins 16 other presidents elected to a second term.
As reported, he stopped as he headed inside the Capitol, turned and looked at the vast crowd and said, I want to take a look one more time. Im not going to see this again.
Neither will I Mr. President. Neither will I.
Charles E. Richardson is The Telegraphs editorial page editor. He can be reached at (478)744-4342 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweetendattr val="cface"/>