Inauguration a reminder that we live in time of diversity
It was notable that President Barack Obama's second inauguration this week was more subdued than his first in 2009.
Far from being a disappointment, however, it reflected something important for our nation.
The first inauguration was auspicious and exuberant due to the fact that it was for America's first black president, an important event in our history. Even those who did not vote for the president understood that this was a meaningful occurrence.
The second inauguration on Monday was also meaningful, but for a different reason. The outcome of the November election demonstrated that the nation supported him not because of his race, but because of his policies and his effectiveness as a president. In other words, Barack Obama was not simply a “token” president voted into office the first time out of a commitment by voters to demonstrate their desire for diversity.
Second inaugurations for presidents traditionally are less enthusiastic because the man – and they have all been men to this point – is no longer “new.” Americans know who they have in the White House and what the policies are likely to be. It is relatively infrequent to get a second term. When it happens, it means a majority like what the president has done.
The fact that Monday's event was the typical subdued type of second inauguration shows that the nation does not so much see Barack Obama as our historic first black president, but simply as the president, just like any other second-term president.
A transition has been made, one that bodes well for the increasing diversity of the United States.
It is noteworthy that the president indicated in his inauguration speech that he is aware of his own legacy to diversity and is committed to advancing the concept even further, this time to gay citizens of our nation.
In addition, many of us are now looking to a future – perhaps a near future – where a woman is president.
We are privileged to live in a remarkable era of acceptance and diversity, even though the path has been difficult and will likely continue to be for some time to come.