January 22, 2009

I'll Say It: Rev. Lowery Behaved Like A Jackass

Sometimes, there just is not time to get something said that needs saying at the time it needs saying. So it is with my post inauguration reactions. I'm a little late to the party and still pressed for time, so I'll be relatively brief:

Rick Warren's Invocation: He did not bring it. The guy is a pastor and preacher over a mega church congregation. I expected and wanted a prayer that called on God in a manner that was equal to the moment and the nation's need. I wanted a prayer that would have been the equivalent of a national alter call to service to God and country. As a former member of a mega-church (Word of Faith, pastored by the awesome Bishop Butler) I have heard awesome mega church pastor preaching and prayer. I sooo expected Warren to bring it at that level, but brother had no cadence, no rhythm and as one of my friends remarked, too much emphasis on the "first black president" aspect. A completely underwhelming prayer effort, though I'm sure God heard it just fine.

The Oath: Mr. Chief Justice, you are a constitutional scholar, the chief justice of the court and oh by the way, the 35 words of the oath are in the damn constitution. Is it too much to ask that on such a history making inauguration and your first of many at bat, that you would get that right? Not only did you flub it, but yesterday, out of an "abundance of caution" the oath was re-administered to Obama, something that has happened only twice before. Not quite epic fail, but approaching the frontier. Exit thought on this: how cheesed off are the natural born citizen truthers now? The court summarily rejects all their appeals and the Chief Justice swears The Messiah twice to make sure it sticks!

The Inaugural Composition: I thought the composition created for the inauguration was a wonderful piece of music and Yo-Yo Ma seemed positively full of joy to play it. I thought he gave a real gift to the nation in the performance of the piece. It was a lovely piece of music totally in keeping with the spirit of the event.

The Inaugural Poem: To be fair, I watched the inauguration with my children at their school and I had to take take my son to the bathroom right about the time of the poem, so I didn't get a solid hearing of it and I will look and listen to its rendition again. That said, I'm sorry, it was deadly dull boring, I didn't really understand it and it was spoken in about as deadpan, lifeless and joyless a manner as one could imagine. If Yo-Yo Ma was the epitome of joy in rendition, the poet was the total opposite. I could have been more inspiring than that. Epic Fail.

The Benediction: I didn't mind Lowery's vernacular exposition or the inclusion of the negro anthem so much. It grated my nerves, however I could live with it. But the protest song bit at the end - totally inappropriate to the moment. Old Civil rights coots like him simply cannot let go of racial grievance. He just could not resist the opportunity to tweak the white man at this historical moment. Could not get over himself and the racial history to get out of the way and let this be a moment not just for black American people but for the American people. Complete jackass behavior in my opinion and a real embarrassment to disparage white people in such a blanket way at the inauguration of the 1st black president who got elected with a WHOLE lot of white votes, but he just HAD to slap those folks in the face with his race/victim shtick.

Obama did his level best to let the campaign be about his ideas, not his skin color and at the moment of triumph, Lowery cannot be content to let the victory and the self evident achievement speak for itself. It was unnecessary, unwarranted, and beneath the dignity of the moment. Lowery is an elder, whom we should respect, and he's a civil rights warrior who looked in the face of segregation back in the day. But with all due respect, being an elder ought to mean you have gained some wisdom as well, and that you employ it in your life. The inauguration of the 1st black president was not the time to wear racial grievance on his sleeve or indict white America however gently or mildly some may have regarded it. Some have defended his words as an artful way to honor the occasion and I totally disagree. I think he was simply unable to resist the opportunity to rub it in white America's face just a little and that he in essence gave in to the smaller, less charitable part of his character in doing so. It marred, for me, what was an otherwise very dignified moment of history.

That's my take, what say you? Am I right or way off base? Say it like you feel it.