You probably think I'm going to start moaning about the $150,000,000 cost of the inauguration. That's certainly distressing, but I have a more philosophical concern. The excitement about the Obama inauguration was certainly out of control. Days before the inauguration the major networks were already devoting hours of prime airtime to puff pieces on Obama and his family. My satellite system has a 24/7 Obama channel. The size of the crowd and the level of emotion was beyond any reasonable level. The boiled down message which all of this seems to be pushing is the same, perhaps enhanced a bit by the conjunction of the inauguration with Martin Luther King Day. The media seems convinced that as a nation we've accomplished something wonderful by electing someone with a dark skin to the presidency and it's time to give ourselves a pat on the back and celebrate just how special we are.
I find myself wondering why this is so exciting. We're supposed to be a nation where everyone is equal and no one has special rights or privileges. If everyone is supposed to be treated the same, why is it any kind of special achievement to elect someone of a particular skin color or background? Shouldn't that be irrelevant to his chances of getting elected and equally irrelevant in how significant his election is?
To me all of the hype sends the wrong message. It suggests that something out of the ordinary has happened here. But if America is the nation of equals which it is supposed to be, then there should be no difference between electing a white president, a black president or a latino president. Your skin color doesn't make you any better or any worse than anyone else. We're all just Americans, right?