Driving the message home were the hands of the Fates, who conspired to see the second inauguration of the nation’s first African American president fall on Martin Luther King Day, the national holiday whose very creation was opposed by so many who still today comprise the Republican Party’s right wing.Yeah, that worked out pretty good. Heh.
1. Reminding the nation who won the Civil War. On the eve of Obama’s second inauguration, civil rights leader Julian Bond addressed a crowd of progressives gathered in Washington, D.C., at the Peace Ball convened by the activist restauranter Andy Shallal, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, and a host of progressive entities. Bond spelled out the statistics of Obama’s 2012 victory for the crowd, noting that Mitt Romney’s voters were almost entirely white, and that the only states won by the Republican presidential candidate belonged to the old Confederacy.I got a big kick out of that. Poked the right-wingers right in the eye, that did. 'Bout fuckin' time.
“The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” the anthem of Union troops in the Civil War, long ago passed into the songbook of patriotic themes, and has been played during the inaugural parades of other presidents, sung on several different occasions by the very white Mormon Tabernacle Choir. But when the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, in all its multicultural glory, was tapped to sing the anthem not from a parade stand, but from the ceremonial podium, a different chord was struck, thanks to its context: the invocation that preceded it, and the president's speech, which followed it.
4. Throwing right-wing rhetoric right back at ‘em. [...] To ignore the rhetoric of the right as it is deployed against him lends a sort of cover to the racism that is often implicit in it -- or the simplistic ridiculousness of it all. When Obama, as he has since his re-election, acknowledges and, yes, even repeats that language, he lets the rest of America know that he’s in on the joke, and he thinks it’s a pretty lame joke.
So that line about “the tyranny of a king”? Yeah, that was for the wing-nuts who paint the president as a tyrant in order to justify their call for his overthrow or the overthrow of the U.S. government. Later in the address, Obama, defending the social safety net, took on the right’s “producerism” trope, heard from pundits and politicians throughout Rightlandia, that America is populated by two kinds of people, “the takers” versus “the makers”.
8. Spanish is the loving tongue, amigos.¡O Si! How d'ya say "heh" in Spanish?
12. Shining a light on voter suppression.That is going to get worse before it gets better. If ya can't beat 'em, cheat 'em. Now the Repugs are trying to tie electoral votes to their gerrymandered districts. If they had been able to do that this time, Rmoney would have won and we'd be in the soup.
My main take-away from the inauguration was pretty simple: we're relatively safe from the forces of darkness for another four years, but we must be ever vigilant.