Notes in Obama’s inaugural speech that Christopher Hitchens thinks deserve amplification:
"We will restore science to its rightful place," is intended, I have some reason to believe, to reinforce or underline the president’s emphasis on religious pluralism and on the inclusion (with a few days to go before the Darwin-Lincoln bicentennial) of the fast-growing number of "nonbelievers." That this has already drawn fire from the vastly overrated black churches is a good sign in itself.
Then one can hardly overpraise the repudiation, annexed from Franklin even if he may not actually have said it, of "the false choice between our safety and our ideals." This acted as a curtain-raiser for the important restatement of the ideals themselves:
We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
The president has a better grip on the English language than any of his living-memory predecessors, and it seems certain that he wrote at least 80 percent of this address himself. It’s nice to be able to hold people to claims that they have written rather than read, and I look forward to doing so."
I look forward to a President who can make fun of the media, and not the other way around.
The subtlety with which Obama sheathed in such inspiring, positive language, his critical onslaught on George Bush’s tenure, signals, one hopes, the beginning of a term in which words and rhetoric are used not to stir aggression but to bring peace; an era in which the President acts in a manner worthy of respect, rather than ridicule.