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What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them

At the Palace Ballroom
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled.


I started to write something very different about the morning I spent with friends at the Palace Ballroom downtown. I can sum that part up: excellent food, excellent company, followed by walking through downtown and the Pike Place Market. I reread Obama’s speech tonight, to capture a quote here and my thoughts moved in an alternate direction.

Since the election, I’ve studiously avoided naysayers and their negativity that would sap joy and my happiness out of this Inaugural occasion. I wouldn’t pretend I’m without any cynicism as I have years of habits to undo. But it’s remarkable how stark and ugly and, frankly, confining it seems now. I’ve noticed that this shift in avoiding negativity in one aspect of my life was just ever so slight, but it’s becoming enough to change the ground beneath, beyond politics.

The inaugural address in full on NYTimes and CNN.

3 replies on “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them”

I especially loved this part of his speech…

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West–know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

And yeah, all that other stuff like hanging out, wandering around Pike Place, the fantastic breakfast, Beecher’s for lunch, and on and on… was good times too, of course. 🙂

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