Whee, the People! A Faith-filled Inauguration

Sunrise behind the capital

Ouch Dark Thirty

AnnE, who worked yesterday as an ASL interpreter for the inauguration, continues her guest stint at BCC.

I arrived at the Inauguration so early yesterday morning, it was pretty much uniforms, audiovisual crew, and of course the snipers.

With fewer than half the 2009 crowds expected and at least fifteen more degrees forecast on the mercury, I was hopeful for a less Armageddon-like experience than four years ago. Indeed there were fewer tree climbers, and the crowds did not scurry across the frozen Reflecting Pool this time as though a Starbucks lay on the opposite bank of the North Platte. There was however a fair amount of fainting, port-a-john scaling, and a two-hour monologue shouted from the perimeter about THE BABIES.

The theme was “Faith,” and the musical performances featured enthusiastic and unapologetic hymns of praise, as well as patriotic standards in which God was central. The choir from Lee University invited our monotheist cousins and folks of other persuasions with aspirations (pun intended) to “join with Abraham’s seed to adore Him.” It was one worshipful program.

In his address, President Obama drew portraits of freedom and equality for nearly every face in God’s image, repeatedly calling for the “founding creed” asserted in the Declaration of Independence to be applied at last to everyone. As “heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war,” he challenged us to be peacemakers and “carry those lessons into this time as well.”

On this day for remembering Dr. King, such talk evoked his quotation I have written in my scriptures: “Peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” The President made it clear that we are to “carry on what those pioneers began,” enumerating for each forsaken company the milestones particular to their arrivals at life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

In the benediction, Rev. Luis Leon returned the admonition directly back to leadership, borrowing the words of Micah that once called Israel to account: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and always walk humbly with God?” It was a memorable rhetorical choice to petition God to intervene that the country could resist those interpersonal and societal injustices that rob us of our humanity and give place to what we might call “the natural man.”

Though personally feeling very naturally spent, hungry, and cold at the time, it was stirring when he blessed “Barack…and Joe” by name. As a Latter-day Saint, what quickened within you during yesterday’s events? Ponder anew!


  1. Thanks, AnnE. I was happy to see sign interpreters shown on the big screens a few times during the proceedings.

    “and a two-hour monologue shouted from the perimeter about THE BABIES…”

    Ah yes. Where were you located, and how well could you hear it? This abortion protester was in my section (the green section). He climbed a tree with his sign and proceeded to harangue everyone within earshot in graphic terms about murder and Jesus. Police brought in a ladder, but he just climbed out of reach. His shouting continued even louder throughout the prayers. I have a radio on my ancient cell phone so I tuned into the NPR broadcast and turned on the phone’s little loudspeaker. The people in my area could focus on it instead of the protester during the prayers at least. The man was still in the tree as I left the grounds. You can see him on the high resolution photo, one of the highest yellow dots, tagged facetiously as “Alex Wall”:


  2. Mark Brown says:

    This might sound strange, but I really like some footage I saw of the president and first lady dancing at one of the balls. As I watched them I realized that these are two people who really love each other.

  3. “As a Latter-day Saint, what quickened within you during yesterday’s events?” Nothing, since I didn’t watch, listen, or read. Another politician’s speech. And yes, would have done the same for Romney, or anyone else.

  4. That’s what they said about Mosiah 2.

  5. I loved the inauguration and the messages of hope and faith. The discourse around me here in Utah is so often apocalyptic and filled with dark dispair about the world. It was nice to remember there are reasons for optimism and joy. I need a lift from the relentless attempts to make “It’s the end of the world” a self fulfilling prophecy.

  6. Mosiah was at the temple, not the city hall.

  7. I was bewitched and entranced by the proceedings. We had elected a good man and a man with a dark complexion twice. He is charming and informal and a man totally surprised by his position. When he was reciting the oath of office he choked with emotion on the word, “president.” His desire to do the right thing by the country and its citizens was absolutely evident.

    Today I got a phone call from the alliance for gun control. I donated money. This is a president who will make it happen. I am so pleased.

  8. I especially liked Blanco’s poem. He created images in my mind of hundreds of millions of Americans going about our varied daily business, but still with something uniting us. That similarity despite diversity can be said about members of the Church, or about all the children of God. That resonated.

  9. Mosiah was at the temple, not the city hall.

    Mosiah 2 presents the words of King Benjamin, not Mosiah, and for him, the temple and city hall were essentially the same thing. If Welch’s take on that speech can be trusted, anyway, it was a highly political not merely spiritual event. Not that we should simply equate the current President with K.B., of course. (Plenty of us would never dream of doing such a thing obviously; quite the contrary…)

  10. Sharee Hughes says:

    I have not been an Obama fan, but I was impressed with his address. I think he is humbler than he was during his first term. And, though this has nothing to do with Obama, I love Michelle’s new hairdo. She looks younger and not so “matronly.”

  11. I loved that so many of the messages spoke about our shared responsibility to the “others” among us, e.g. the poor, the sick, the outcast, and needy, or people being gunned down by assault weapons. Of course, I’m always a sucker for the E Pluribus Unum, tired, poor, huddled masses, that inspires our best American Dreams.

  12. Robin Carson says:

    I didn’t catch it, I had a family obligation. I will share my feeling about Obama as a faithful Christin – LDS and mother of a daughter of mixed race. I love that when she studies the presidents of the USA there will be a president of mixed race, who doesn’t have a typical white name (hers is Japanese), and who is well spoken & educated. Also, that he is a father and husband above all – you can tell in the way he speaks and acts. He is a Good Man doing the best he can for ALL people, not just those that walk/talk/look like him. I see a Christ like human being in his countenance.

    I also adore his wife. She is a good mother – not only to her kids, but to the kids she interacts with. That, more than any political POV is what guided my support these last 4 years and what make me please to support her (and her husbands) causes.

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