Even though I wasn't able to watch any of it, here are a few quick thoughts on the inauguration:
- Would people have kept their kids home from school and companies have allowed employees to watch the event during work if it was a black Republican president taking the oath of office? My wife posed that query yesterday and I'm not sure what the answer is. I gotta think the hype factor would be at least 40% lower.
- In some ways the unrelenting focus on Obama's race and the historic nature of the moment reminded me of the Bears-Colts Super Bowl of a few years ago when much of the pre-game chatter revolved around it being the first such NFL matchup of black coaches. At that time, I felt that it distracted the attention that should have been given to the accomplishments of Dungy and Smith as football coaches.
In a similar manner, I think Obama's achievements as a politician have been overshadowed because of the emphasis on his being the first black president. While it's necessary and good to acknowledge the historic nature of this event, we should be able to move beyond that now and be able to focus on Obama as a man and leader of the country rather than a symbol of the progress of African Americans. Then, we will now that real progress has been made.