Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Text of the benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery during President Barack Obama's inauguration, as transcribed by CQ Transcriptions:
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.
Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.
We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day.
We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.
He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.
Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.
For we know that, Lord, you are able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.
We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.
And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.
And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.
And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.
Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.
We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone.
With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.
Those who know me well, know me to be a hugely emotional brute. Those who know me, know me to be a deeply patriotic individual, who never misses a chance to celebrate the Fourth of July. Those who know me best, know that i am a total and unabashed parade hound.
From the endless lines of Hibernians in the NY St. Patrick's parade to the grand finale of the Greeley Stampede parade where the spectators engage the local fire department in a mobile water fight (Really everyone should do this someday. its a bit of succulent Americana in a verdant small town setting and should not be missed) I have always loved the notion of humanity on display. You can ask me details about Trooping The Colours for the Queen's Birthday, or Rose Garden Reviews and even the manias of Carnaval and Mardi Gras, I'll gladly give you an earful.
In most countries, national parades are a cause to display military might. I get giddy at the annual show-stopper every 14th of July down the Champs Elysee, and the Soviet era May Day parades. Yet it takes an Inaugural parade to bring a tear to my eye. When watching or if you have already watched this somewhat silly display i need you to take something extremely important with you.
In the United States, we rarely parade our military. Our might does not come from the strength of our Army and Navy, rather it comes from the people. Represented in this particular parade by endless High School marching bands, tractor pulled floats, Native Chiefs in ceremonial headdress, square dancers, cowboys, and interspersed between the Ogalala Pioneers Marching Band, and the 4H livestock, are our military bands. In all their ceremonial dress, with swords and epaulets, with fur skinned hat drum majors tossing their silver tipped maces, our armed forces march the same parades as the thick necked union worker and the Lawn Rangers precision Mowing Drill team.
All American parades hold that in common, but an inaugural parade is a national pageant of hope and renewal, a gift of silly, ill fitting uniforms, off key brass, and goofy smiles for the embodiment of our dreams and hopes for the future, the newly elected President.
If you missed, it watch it HERE
For the Miltary Stuff, watch HERE and take note how the "Old Guard" CO does a hat salute to the new prez. A very nice flourish.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Look, I'm no fan of this needy troll/weasel Rob Blagojevich. His "I want something for this", smacks of the same desperation for monetizing a flash in the pan as Joe the "plumber"'s current stint as a "reporter".
(Applause for the most quotation marks ever used in one sentence)
The whole nasty mess is just awful, and I'd rather be thinking that maybe Roland Burris, as the only African American senator is a wholesome, qualified , and adorable little imp with a tendency for press conferences.
Instead I'm confronted with the reality that Burris is an attention starved, and shameless self-promoter.
I suppose all self-promoters are a bit shameless, but he is disconcertingly so.
"Hey Alf, why are you picking on a Democratic Senator, who happens to be the only black Senator?"
Well, there's this thing. This horrible bit of tack. This gristle of gauche, stuck twixt the teeth of normalcy and decency. There's a monument to hubris. A granite monolith of delusional mental illness, that points its eternal finger at a man who does one too many interviews, makes one too many press conferences, and thinks a bit too highly of himself.
For a close up view of the entire "Burris Monument" you can visit HERE
Make sure you read through "Accomplishments" and "Other Accomplishments" .
Well, shit. Someone give this man a Senate seat.
I need to lie down.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Unscripted television isn't my favorite. I don't mean unscripted like documentaries or Dirty Jobs, or Mythbusters even. No, I'm talking about all MTV programming and any sort of contest or race. From the parade of mediocrity that is Top Designer, to the painfully dull Next Producer and all the Rock of NY Love, or whatever the hell they are calling that tragedy now. I am not one for watching untalented people being fast tracked to fame and failure. Bo Bice, Taylor Hackford, where art thou?
There are two shows however, that manage to pit professionals against each other and may truly find true "Stars" within the talented ranks of their contestants by requiring professional results. One is TOP CHEF, and the other is PROJECT RUNWAY. Now, I was turned on to Project Runway by my roommate, who kicking and screaming, made me watch one episode of a marathon. Needless to say, I was impressed.
I'm not a fan of couture per-se, but certainly I am a fan of elegance and taste despite my facebook profile. During these monumental, hard fought, and historic elections, we had an enormous dichotomy in taste that i think highlights a major cultural divide in this nation.
To be frank, the last eight years have been some of the tackiest, most visually offensive and culturally bankrupt years in American history. And yes, that includes the reconstruction years when U.S Grant would walk around pants less, smoking a cigar and spitting bits of "Tabacky" on orphaned children. Even Queen Victoria remarked "We wish he would sport some trou."and ostracized that tacky boor. But the jingoism and chest beating of a post 9/11 world gave way to a free for all of our most base instincts, culminating in the superbly tacky Iraq war, awful imagery, and Britney Spear's breakdown.
Then, after Kerry's abortive attempt, and four more horrific years of "heh heh" from the White House, came the elections. It was a sight to behold really. Do we go with the lumbering tacky symbols and behavior of the last eight years? Or do we go with the smooth, visually pleasing, and classy change?
I could go on for hours about the "Wasilla Hillbillies" and their teen sex debut at the RNC, but the fact is, that now is the time for healing. We need to reach out to those who think THIS is ok.
Our president elect has decided to take the high road and, not rub it in dumb, gun-toting, racist, tacky ass red America's face, but rather bring them into the fold and thereby change the country, I mean SERIOUSLY change the country forever.
To this end, I recommend that President-elect Obama create the new cabinet-level post of Secretary of Taste. Furthermore I nominate Mr. Tim Gunn to fill the spot effective immediately.
I hardly need to give you Tim's credentials. He is the sleek asexual master of style that makes european monarchs look like inbred iron mongers.
Let's say, that GW Bush had tried to pass off the Iraq war on Tim. I can see the ever cautious Mr. Gunn saying
"Hmm. Ok, i can see what you mean to say here, but its not working for me. It feels rushed. Let's actually find some WMD's and I think that will make more sense. Ok? Just make it work."
Voila! One war/ quagmire avoided.
The fact is, that Tim Gunn is a careful methodical thinker. His every move and utterance is carefully calculated and phrased so as not to be disruptive, but rather constructive. THAT is what makes Tim Gunn a national treasure, and THAT is what this country needs more of.
No more knee jerk reactions, no more "Let's roll!" bumper stickers, no more mindlessly hating on the French, no more scapegoating, no more carelessness. As the inaugural looms in less than a week now, I return to my favorite quote from my favorite Kennedy "Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that." , and in the spirit of our new President and Project Runway, do our part to "Tame the Savageness of man" and avoid plaids and stripes.