Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day, 2009

The day he was inaugurated as President in 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt attended Episcopal services before he was sworn into office. FDR biographer Ted Morgan writes that “He remained in prayer long after the clergy had retired, making his compact with the Almighty.” The compact FDR made that day would last twelve years and would bring America out of economic depression and international isolation into the dawn of a new era of world power and responsibility.

Threescore and sixteen years later, the need for President Barack Obama to make a compact with Almighty is imperative. The crises afflicting our nation are not solely economic or financial, they are environmental, educational, cultural, international, internal, and—given the deliberately amoral abuses of power inflicted upon the American people during the past eight years—moral as well. To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Othello, this is the day that either makes us or fordoes us quite.

America has touched bottom. We are shaken to our foundations and we are grasping at the remaining strands of hope that flicker elusively in our collective vision.

Pundits from the Right and Left can argue indefinitely about whether President Obama’s policies will work or not but something must be done. Inaction is unthinkable. To do nothing is not only an admission of failure but also a dereliction of duty as elected representatives of the American people. Those who support or oppose Obama need to keep this in mind.

How long will it take to turn the country around? Recent polls suggest that Americans will give Obama two years but we need to be reminded that America was still in Depression long after FDR’s New Deal reforms and programs had been instituted and that it took our entry into World War Two to turn the economy around. Sometimes recovery takes awhile.

That is why not only President Obama needs to make a compact with God we need to make one too.


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