Monday, January 21, 2013

Observations 1.21

This a short story about a segment of the population that didn't see the beauty of President Obama's second Inaugural Address. A segment that will forever live in the past and for which the word "Stonewall" in the President's speech has an entirely different meaning.

Somewhere in the area of one million people were in Washington to be part of President Obama's inaugural today which also happened to be Martin Luther King Day. At the same time one hundred miles to the south the Virginia State Senate was in session in Richmond, the one time capital of the Confederacy. The Virginia Senate is evenly split with twenty Republicans and twenty Democrats but on this day 79 year old Democrat Henry Marsh was absent. Marsh, a veteran of the civil rights battles of the 1960's, was in Washington to witness the second inauguration of the country's first African American president and celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King.

The Virginia GOP used Marsh's absence to push through a redistricting bill even though the districts had just be redrawn two years ago. Predictably the bill passed by a vote of 20-19 and erased a Democratic seat in western Virginia. The Republican Governor Bob McDonnell hasn't yet said whether he will sign it or not but if he does the GOP will control all of the Virginia legislature. Nationwide the Republican strategy seems to be if you can't win using the current rules simply change the rules and do it in as despicable a way as you can.

I save the best part of my story for last. Remember that today was Martin Luther King Day and President Obama's Inauguration Day. On this of all days, and taken from its official minutes, the Virginia State Senate choose to end it's day the following way:

"On motion of Senator Stosch, the Senate adjourned in memory of General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson at 4:10 p.m. to convene Tuesday, January 22, 2013."

January 21st also happens to be the Confederate general's birthday.

Observations on the 2013 Inaugural

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths, that all of us are created equal, is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth."

Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama

President Obama Delivers His Second Inaugural Address
(official video)

Observations from the Window 1.21

Today is Inauguration Day, along with Martin Luther King Day, and President Obama will be sworn in yet again followed by the official celebration of the beginning of his second term. Confused because you thought he was sworn in yesterday? Under the Constitution the president automatically begins his term on Jan. 20. This year the date fell on Sunday so President Obama and Vice President Biden followed tradition by being sworn in at a private ceremony. President Reagan did the same in 1985 which was the last time the inaugural fell on a Sunday. Never let it be said that I didn't teach you something.

Yesterday The Telegraph posted a gallery of photos chronicling President Obama's first term which is totally worth looking at. This photo from the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks just jumped out at me when I saw it. I may have seen it before but I didn't remember it if I did, either way it's just a gorgeous shot. The angles, the broken light falling on the waterfall, the way the leaves frame to top of the shot, it's just one of those photos you look at and nod because you know it's exactly what you would have done in that situation or like to think you would have.

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy
Tumblr link