First of all, I don't mean for this question to be partisan. But I am wondering, for all y'all regular readers (and newcomers!) what does the inauguration mean to you?
All throughout our history, we, as Americans, are trying to fill in the blanks that Jefferson didn't know he inserted in his famous phrase "All men are created equal." Back in 1776, "Men" equaled "white, adult, land-owning" etc. As we grew up as a republic, we started taking away some of those hidden adjectives. After the Civil War, we started adding other adjectives: black men, women, 18-year-olds.
As Joseph Ellis wrote in his Washington Post piece, when Obama takes the oath, he will be fulfilling a promissory note Jefferson wrote in 1776. John Adams would also be proud, as would most of our Founding Fathers and other giants of our history.
But I think Obama is also fulfilling a promissory note issues by Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation and the 14th Amendment. Not only that,
America is, and always will be, a work in progress. It's a point of pride that we can adjust our country, right wrongs, and move forward. It's all part of a great conversation, one that we all get to enjoy tomorrow.
Lincoln is everywhere nowadays but his words have special resonance this week. Take this last phrase from the Gettysburg Address: that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Every inauguration is a new birth of freedom. This one seems just a little bit more.