Understanding the Law
January 23, 2009
The Inauguration of President Barack Obama

The four- day inauguration celebrations started on Saturday, 17th January, 2009, when the president-elect Barack Obama took a historic train ride on the “Obama Express” retracing the historic ride that Abraham Lincoln made in 1861 from Philadelphia to Washington to his inauguration. At the launching of the trip in Philadelphia, Obama gave another great speech that would go down in the annals of that country as among the most awe inspiring of our times.{{more}} It was received with thunderous applause from a large crowd that gathered that cold wintry day. He spoke about perfecting an imperfect union and for a declaration of independence from ideology, small thinking, prejudice and bigotry. Setting out at about 10 am, he stopped in Delaware to pick up his Vice President then on to Baltimore and ended up at Washington at about 6.45 p.m.

Sunday 18th was the “We are one” concert at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. It brought together a mixed group of performers who represented the United States that Obama spoke about and not the blue and red America which some other politicians spoke about.

Tuesday, 20th January was inauguration day and it was indeed a grand affair with a massive crowd of people who withstood the freezing temperature to be a part of that historic event at the National Mall in Washington. It was indeed a momentous occasion as persons of all colour and race from all over the world witnessed the inauguration. President Obama took the oath with dignity and conviction and delivered another great speech in his usual distinctive and unique style, speaking about the mission to remake America and to treat others with respect. Equally impressive was the inaugural parade which took place on Pennsylvania Avenue with thousand of people waving and honouring the newly sworn-in President.

Everything went as planned except for the fact that the ceremony was a little behind time and the president made his oath after 12 noon, when he had already officially became president according to the constitution.

After the glitz of a historic inauguration, President Obama will be faced with the reality of the economic crisis that is affecting his country. He is already selling his stimulus package to Congress and the American people, but there is a herculean task ahead. It brings to mind Shakespeare’s words, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” (Henry iv Part 11 1597). Obama the first African American president has assumed the presidency at a time when the economic fortunes of the USA are at the lowest ebb, if not at rock bottom. The question is whether he can pull the country from the abyss into which it has fallen. It would need the help of everyone, especially the wealthy and those who have benefitted from the Bush tax cuts. President Obama, recognizing the struggles of the middle class under a rigid tax system, has promised to provide some relief. It could mean restoring the taxes for the wealthy. Already there have been comments that taxes should not be raised during a recession, but at least, the taxes from the wealthy are needed to help in the restoration of their country to its pristine position. President Obama needs all the support he can get and I have no doubt that he will come up with some novel ideas to solve his country’s problems.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
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