Thursday, January 21, 2021

Finding Inspiration from a Weird Day

George Friedman
Lots of interesting things are being written and said about our quadrennial tradition of presidential inaugurations yesterday. Most are, at best, shallow and banal utterances from the usual chattering classes, including the usual lofty but largely forgettable and hollow inaugural address (most are, frankly - do you remember anything that was said in any of the past four or five inaugural addresses? I have go back to GHWB to remember a significant utterance or gesture). A few posts and essays, however, arise above the occasion.

This is one, by futurist George Friedman. Distinctly non-political and gently inspirational, it puts the day in true perspective, one often not appreciated outside Washington’s beltway. It is important be reminded, from time to time, that not everything is political, nor should be, nor emanates from our well-meaning (well, most of them) political class. Those genuinely interested in “healing” (versus “heeling”) and “unity” (i.e., conformity) should take special note. The line, “so be it” sent a chill down my spine.

I try to refrain from posting on things that are obvious, or which everyone else is commenting. I’ll just say that I frankly found the events of the day(s) quite weird and uninspiring, even contradictory - calls for unity and healing amidst concertina-wired fences and some 30,000 mostly armed troops, with nothing but military marches down an empty Pennsylvania Avenue. Did Lewis Carroll concoct the script (you know, the author of Alice in Wonderland)? 

Author Ben Domenech, who edits The Federalist and writes a daily missive, “The Transom,” today describes our new President’s inaugural address better than I can: 

“Yesterday’s remarks from Joe Biden were what we thought they would be: a lot of talk about unity, and a lot of condemnations of other Americans along the way. The unity talk went over just as expected, with Republicans rolling their eyes. Of course there was unity on that dais in Washington, with a thousand of America’s elites - nearly all of them already vaccinated, but wearing masks to send a message - guarded by tens of thousands of troops against the dire threat of revolt that we are told came this close to toppling our democracy. The mixed message of what you were being told and what you saw on screen was obvious. The Bidens feel temporary, the government feels fragile, and the media’s attempts at spin and fluff feel irritating but obvious - as John Cleese would say, like setting Julie Andrews on fire.” 

Then again, we live in weird, uncertain times. Thus this essay is a welcome respite from the siren sounds of the day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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