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The Big Yellow Book

Seeing the World from Both Oculars-- a Bananaslug's Journal

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The Inauguration Tea Leaves-- a reading
Well then. It is done. Or it has begun, rather.

The pageant we embark on every four years has gone off again for the 44th time. In the United States, thanks to the incredible genius of a small number of men (with the able advice of their wives, no doubt), we elect our king every four years, our house of lords every six, and commons every other year. And even during the height of the Civil War, during the simmering insurrections of 1932 and 1969...and yet again in 2009, the sitting president drives to the Capitol with the incoming president, and leaves a simple citizen with one vote and no veto.

This is one of the two miracles that happened today.

Obama's speech, while it was excellent, and hit many of the points I thought he might slide on a lot harder than I thought he would, wasn't the other.

The other miracle was the prayer of Dr. Joseph Lowry.

CNN was delighting in showing, during the poem that preceded the benediction, all of the people who were leaving the Mall, not willing to stay.

Dr. Lowry started to speak, and as he spoke, people stopped streaming toward the side streets, turned, and paid respectful attention. I've never seen somebody turn around an audience of close on one million people with a few sentences before, even if those sentences were the verses of what's commonly called the "Negro National Anthem." By the end of his prayer, he had won back their attention to the point that the audience was engaging in verse response with him, and about a million voices shouted back "Amen!"

If President Obama can do that to the nation, it would be a tremendous coming together in unity.