Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reflection: Whose Inauguration Is It, Anyway?

I just now heard documentary film-maker, Ken Burns, speaking with Keith Olbermann about the perhaps over-the-top adulation being afforded President Obama on the occasion of his inauguration, say something that I consider to be as profound as it is true. Burns reflected that our heroes are always somewhat less than we come to imagine them to be. But, he said, (and I must paraphrase now) the difference between Abraham Lincoln as he actually was, and Abraham Lincoln as we have exalted him, is that which we want of, and for, ourselves.

In the case of our exaltation of President Obama, therefore, if we do that which we would do, rather than that which we would not, then our success will maintain Obama up there in that high place to which our enthusiasm has lifted him today.

As Obama has said: It's not about him; it's about us.