January 22, 2009

Obama's First Inaugural Address

The text is here.

In contrast to many online reactions, I liked it at first reading. (Is much of the widespread negative tone online due to the fact that it's easier to criticize than to formulate something defensibly constructive?)

A key paragraph:
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
As an American exceptionalist in my fashion, I was pleased to read that. IMO a major, essential part of American exceptionalism is the USA's unique opportunity to become a template for a modern post-tribal society.

Unfortunately, I do not see how creating protected classes and quotas--almost fifty years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964--is a step in this direction. It is necessary to accentuate tribal distinctions in order to dissolve them? Ben Tre logic?

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