The helicopter “Executive One” has just carried the Obamas away from the capital. The first thought that comes to mind is: “Leadership matters”. Though the inauguration ceremony puts on display so many things that do not change – the decorum, the rituals, the stable transfer of power – there is no doubt that the nation and the world we live in is a very different place after eight years of this man in office.
That a good number of Americans do not believe those differences are good is incontestable. Exhibit A is Donald J. Trump with his hand on the Bible, being sworn in as president.
Some immediate observations from the Ceremony:
- It was talked about ad nauseum, but the “peaceful transfer of power” is an amazing reality to watch. I enjoyed Master of Ceremony Roy Blunt’s opening comments which gave an historical overview of how this has worked itself out since our nation’s earliest elections.
- Blunt saying, “This day is not a celebration of victory, but a celebration of democracy” puts in perspective the shameful behavior of the politicians who chose to sit out the inauguration.
- The ceremony was proceeding along beautifully till Chuck Schumer could’t resist injecting political rancor into his comments. “Whatever our race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity…,” he said along the way. On the other hand, let them keep jabbering. Americans are increasingly growing tired of the corrosive stain of “identity politics”.
- The Christian faith – so besmirched and marginalized under Obama – was given room to breathe throughout the ceremony. May it be more than window-dressing, but a harbinger of better days ahead for us gun and Bible clingers.
- From the hymns (“Confirm thy soul in self-control”…are you listening President Trump? Please sir, put down your phone!), to the invocation, to the Bibles sworn upon, to the pleas for God’s help, to the benediction (very nice use of 1 Timothy 2:1-5 by Franklin Graham), the name of Jesus echoed numerous times off the marble around the National Mall. (As an aside: it could be argued that the Inauguration is the #1 template for all civic ceremonies throughout our country. How dare any organizer of a graduation, installation, dedication or even a mere school Christmas concert, discourage or deny references to our nation’s religious heritage in these ceremonies!)
- Trump’s speech was not ornamented with great oratory or memorable turn-of-phrases. His populist style of speaking will not fill future editions of Great Quote Books. But the beats of his talk were noteworthy.
- that power was not being transferred from one administration to another, but was being transferred back to the people. The irony of attacking “the Establishment” while being surrounded by it, was interesting to see.
- that his will be an “America First” emphasis. Reagan’s presidency was greeted with worldwide Left-lunacy protesting the impending nuclear war his administration would lead us towards. I expect a similar reaction here. And it’s begun. “Dr. Strange” director Scott Derrickson has tweeted, “DAY F#*KING ONE: NUCLEAR ARMS BUILDUP. And Trump’s appeal to restoring national pride is already being equated with Hitler. Expect tomorrow’s newspapers to be filled more with photos of protesters that parade attenders.
- that those Washington has forgotten from”the child born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska” will be ignored no longer.
- that “radical Islamic terrorism” will be eradicated. While I doubt that Trump will be able to “eradicate” something that’s infected Islam and scourged the earth for nearly 1,500 years, it was still refreshing to know that we will no longer be subject to the Obama administration’s bizarre, even pathological refusal to say those three words.
- “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice”. I hope we hear more of this from our new president. Trump’s message of restoring sanity to our immigration policies has naturally brought to the surface the cockroaches of extremism. Trump needs to bring his heel down decidedly on those who use his words as a license for hate. Obama failed to do this when his comments on racial injustice unleashed a new wave of violence against the nation’s police force. Rather than rebuke this behavior, Obama largely remained silent, and so it festers still to this day, institutionalized in groups like Black Lives Matter.
And so it begins. And how do we begin? Perhaps the best place as any is found in the Scripture read by Franklin Graham.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-2