The Second Inauguration Of President Obama
Incumbent President Barack Obama closely defeated challenger Mitt Romney in America’s most recent national election and was sworn in as Commander-in-Chief last Monday (historically this is done on January 20th, but the inauguration was rescheduled to the following day because the 20th was a Sunday). Despite hopes of Obama’s first election bringing an end to the bitter and divisive political partisanship Washington D.C. is infamous for, quite the opposite has occurred. Having abandoned attempts to bridge the political divides between Congressional Republicans and the Democratic party who control the White House, Obama used his inauguration to signal that he intends to use his second term to push legislation even more left-of-center than many of the policies of his first term.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that President Obama’s second inauguration speech was a notice that liberalism was back and growing strong. In his speech Obama paid particular attention to gay rights, using the speech as an opportunity to reach out to the LGBT community and assure them that he is still an ardent supporter of their cause. The president went on to address climate change, an issue which was largely relegated to the background during fights over healthcare and the budget in his first term. He also made a nod to women’s rights activists, noting that the average man still makes more than the average woman. President Obama then went on to promote the well-being of the middle class and the importance of so-called entitlement programs intended mainly for lower and median income families such as Social Security and Medicaid.
But not everything about Obama’s second inauguration was all politics. The daylong celebration drew a multitude of celebrities and featured a variety of musical performers. Artists as diverse as James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Stevie Wonder all took to the stage to revel in Obama’s reelection. However not all the performers we’re as honest in their appearances as others. Beyoncé, the superstar singer and wife of rapper Jay-Z, was caught lip-syncing America’s national anthem. Additionally earlier in the day rapper Lupe Fiasco was kicked off the stage at a pre-inaugural party for performing a song with lyrics deemed too critical of the president.
The celebrations didn’t stop after the president’s speech was over. Parties and jovialities carried on into Tuesday night. Superstar Lady Gaga took the stage with legendary singer Tony Bennett to perform for White House staff on the second night in a row of celebrations in honor of President Obama’s reelection. According to some reports, the partying and merriment continued until three in the morning.
President Obama’s inauguration was a nice respite from the usual acidic politics that typically submerged Washington, but one can safely assume that the capital will be back to business as usual soon.