It started cold and sharp. Overcast with breaks in the clouds. Then after the formal swearing in, the clouds magically vanished, the temperature rose and the Sun shone brightly through clear blue winter skies. Make of that what you will.
Hundreds of thousands on the Mall alone: Less people of course than four years ago, but far, far more than for the second inaugurations of Reagan, Clinton or the Second Bush. You would look in vain in the vast crowds for communist, foaming-at-the-mouth hate-crazed, ultra-envious levelers or secret agents of the Trilateral Commission: Overwhelmingly middle class, good natured, exceptionally high number of multi-generational groups. Family values in action.
I vastly preferred the President’s Second Inaugural to his First. Shaved of the empty rhetoric that Americans love to guzzle in larger quantities than calories at McDonalds: It was a great speech – Easily the best Inaugural and better delivered than any since the days of Ronald Reagan: Focused, practical, filled with good sense and one-line zingers.
Here was a President who isn’t going to back down in defending the basic institutions of Social Security and Medicare and really is determined to at least try and get a handle on regulating the proliferation of automatic weapons. No arrogant ignorant, mad, contemptible demagogic rhetoric about spreading the Gospel of Democracy American-style across the Middle East – as in George W. Bush’s Second Inaugural which basically handed the region over to the Moslem Brotherhood.
The President’s defense of social security and Medicare was succinct and magnificent. No rage-filled war on honest work and enterprise. (As a self-employed victim of the Reagan-era tax code, I know all about the empty hypocrisy of conservative rhetoric on that.)
The long, endless but nice Inaugural Parade was revealing in its tone too. It was interestingly weighted toward both the military and school kids with their exuberant dance and baton-twirling routines. The President’s defense of social security and Medicare was succinct and magnificent.
As for the military aspects of the parade — sober, dignified and patriotic. And not at all out of character. After all, whose administration hunted down and killed bin Laden? Not George W. Bush or Donald Rumsfeld’s. And as I remember Willard (Mitt) Romney had nothing to do with it either.
The crowds seemed composed of hard-working responsible working class and lower middle class people. They worked hard for a living and hundreds of thousands of them paid for their own trips to Washington to participate in the festivities.
In other words, they were taxpayers and not a mob of the “47 percent” of alleged “freeloaders.”
But they clearly shared the President’s unapologetic rejection of the False Prophetess Ayn Rand that society should recognize no obligation to aid the less fortunate among it – a policy at odds with what every sincere religious Christian, Muslim and Jew should believe if they pay any attention to their own religious writings.
A happy day indeed, regardless of what crises will inevitably follow. Sufficient unto the day is the celebration thereof. And it’s heartening lesson: Democracy is still alive and surprisingly well in America.
Martin Sieff is an editor at Sputnik, the Russian-owned news organization. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (2008), Gathering Storm (2014) and Cycles of Change: The Three Great Eras of American History and the Coming Crisis that will Lead to the Fourth (2014). Follow Martin on: @MartinSieff