1. I was creeped out by the “Obama!” chant breaking out when the President stepped to the podium. It was a little too “Evita!” for my taste. Such things work for the campaign; when used with a President, they become a bit, well, cultish. Better that his fans leave the chant (and the symbol, and…this) behind.
2. Apparently President Obama didn’t know his audience very well. He told the crowd that, “On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.” Only moments before, thousands in the crowd mocked President Bush as he walked onto the podium. Stay classy, Dems.
3. Yet again, I leave an Obama speech utterly incapable of recalling a single line. I’ve had to refer back to the transcript multiple times just to make sure that I remembered it correctly. Is it possible that the man’s remarkable delivery so transfixes the listener that nothing he says can stand out? Or, heaven forfend, could his speechwriters really not be that great?
4. Was the Mall really as disproportionately populated by African Americans as it seemed on television? I don’t blame cameramen at all for focusing their “reaction” shots on black congregants, who had to have been uniquely moved by the day’s events. But I’d be interested to know if African Americans were unusually well-represented in the crowd.
5. I loved the contrast and color provided by Rick Warren and Rev. Lowery’s prayers. The ceremony wouldn’t have been the same without them. I actually overheard someone say, “God, dude, can you cut out the sermon?” while listening to Warren’s prayer. One cannot find a better example of much of modern America’s understanding of religion and its place in public life than this. And while Rev. Lowery’s prayer was pitch-perfect for the moment, let no one say that the “religious right” is more active in pushing its politics through the pulpit than liberal ministers.