Royal change will soon come to this Nation



My inner Pollyanna was basking in blissfulness, rolling in the hay of righteous rhetoric, backstroking through the sunny sibilance of aspiration.

Drunk, apparently, on alliteration.

It was a perfect day. Cold but not freezing. Crowded but not crushing. A diverse people celebrating yet another historic day in the nation's capital.

In one poignant moment, he paused while re-entering the Capitol and turned for a last look at his kingdom and subjects: "I want to take a look one more time," said President Barrack Obama. "I'm not going to see this again."

OK, fine, he's not king and voters are not subjects. At least not yet. But it must have felt that way, especially having just delivered an inaugural address that informed the nation that things are about to change, royally.

Bipartisanship brunches notwithstanding, there was no hint in Obama's words that he was interested in chatting up his political opposition over common ground. When he turned to bid farewell to a memory, he might as well have been bidding farewell to his former self -- the conciliatory politician who once declared that there is no red America nor a blue America.

"Sayonara, suckers. You'll never see that guy again."

Obama may have entered the presidency hoping to bring an end to partisanship, but he entertains no such fantasies now. As he once told a handful of reporters on Air Force One, "I'm no patsy."

Confident and experienced in his second term, Obama has become fully himself. Which is not to say that I disagree with everything or even most of what he said -- at least thematically. Who isn't for justice, equality, love, climate stability and peace in our time? Sign me up.

Confession: With speeches as with movies, I'm not much of an instant critic. I don't watch a movie; I enter it. I want to lose myself, to feel what the actor feels, to experience the world as he does. I check my snark at the door.

Thus, Pollyanna saw the inauguration this way: Obama, the first black president entering a second term on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, seized the moment and left perfect storms whimpering in envy. Expansive in his vision of a United States, bound by common purpose and the belief that all men and women are created equal, he reiterated the Great American Truth: That every man and women has an inalienable right to pursue happiness and prosperity on a level playing field, equal in all ways under all laws.

Sing it! (BEG ITAL)Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. ... His truth is marching on!(END ITAL)

Then he said: "We have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action."

Yes, yes, (BEG ITAL)yes!(END ITAL) I'll have what he's having. I'll go sleeveless in winter and cut my bangs! Of (BEG ITAL)course(END ITAL) we change when necessary. And of course we have to work to keep those truths ... truthful.

Then along comes little Miss Monday Morning, who always begins her sentences with, "Yes, but." What does this mean, substantively?

Ah: "The commitments we make to each other through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security -- these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."

Loose translation: Entitlement reform will not be topping the president's second-term agenda. What it means beyond this is any palm reader's guess.

We understand that we're not a nation of takers (as Paul Ryan once regrettably put it), but how entitlement programs that far exceed our ability to pay for them "free us to take the risks that make this country great" is gobbledygook of the first order. It reeks of caffeine and the smug satisfaction familiar to all writers, who, upon crafting a sentence that is full of sound and fury signifying nothing, ignore the editor's imperative: Delete, delete, delete. Or as I prefer to put it, kill your little darlings.

What it all really means, of course, is that Barack Obama has been liberated by a second term, free to take risks that he hopes will make his legacy great. This is (BEG ITAL)his(END ITAL) moment, (BEG ITAL)his(END ITAL) emancipation proclamation, (BEG ITAL)his(END ITAL) hinge point of history -- and there's no looking back now.

Kathleen Parker's email address is kathleenparkerwashpost.com.


Russ 2 years, 8 months ago

More assonance than alliteration. Mostly mumbling middle-of-the-road milquetoast mush-minded thinking here.


FryarTuk 2 years, 8 months ago

Dadgum Russ, I was just thinking it was about the most lucid article Ms. Parker has written in a long time. My opinion of the O's speech was a bit different as it came across more like an attempt to preach which is okay if you've had a couple of scotches then you don't take it too seriously once everyone is sober. Ms. Parker seems to be saying that he may achieve less in his second bite than in his first because he's emancipated himself from dealing with the political realities. That's frightening because he really missed big on his first go around particularly with the economy. In foreign affairs not so much but domestically he blew it in favor of enhancing his re-election chance.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 8 months ago

My view about the next 4 is short and simple....."we're all Royally F-ed and so is the National debt"


FryarTuk 2 years, 8 months ago

I hear you Sis. The important thing to keep in mind is that our problems' resolutions are within our grasp. In my opinion, that is. Eventually, a huge correction will occur. It may be like the depression of the late 1920's, who knows. The usual thing about those events is that it produces major wars, regionally or otherwise. Most folks realize the impact of the 2007-08 meltdown (which didn't have to happen). Obama promised change and hope but gave us Rahm Emanuel who is the yiddish version of Carter's Hamilton Jordan, neither had any idea of the workings of political America. Granted that Rahm new the D.C. street names better than Ham. Of course, Ham had the edge on altruism as he had volunteered as a civilian to serve in Viet Nam when medically disqualified for military service. Emanuel, who had not served the Clinton white house well but he was a lot of fun to be around, served primarily himself. Obama's political immaturity never changed under Rahm's tutelage and yet shows any progress, witness his "here I stand" declaration at his inaugural. I'm surprised he didn't nail it on the door of the Capitol.

Carter nor Obama had/have poor understanding of political leadership. (I'm not intending to knock Jimmy, I know he does some good now.) The problem today is the acute fringe elements of right and left. You know it took old Crazy Joe Biden to work out a deal on the self inflicted "fiscal clift". He had some savy. If Obama had asked an old war horse like George Mitchell to serve as his Chief of Staff, he would have gotten much, much further.


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