The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Our President


January 20, 2009

Watching the Inauguration on television, I’m amazed at the sheer number of people packed in the mile and a half between the Washington Monument and the Capitol building. Last night, watching the cable news, I was amazed at the crowd just hanging out on the mall, wanting to “be there” in the moment of this monumental event. I think its quite clear that the inauguration of Barak Obama as President of the United States is becoming more than just your standard Presidential Inauguration, its becoming one of those moments that we will recall years from now as a time when things changed in this country.

For many, this event is so special because finally the president is “one of us.” Obama is not like his recent predecessors. The US is shifting demographically, and Obama is a product of these new demographics. He’s of mixed race. He’s urban. His parents weren’t Presidents, Senators, or even rich. As Nate Silver pointed out, Obama is the first truly urban president in a century, proud to call a real American city his home. He doesn’t have a ranch or a retreat and doesn’t claim some sort of small town mythology. Indeed, his election disproves the Palin thesis that “real America” is small town America. Once, that may have been the case, but today, and going forward, “real America” is city-orriented, urban and suburban.

Its an amazing transition on so many levels, and its quite a thing to witness.

Of course, I’m watching it on cable news from Denver. Taking advantage of the 4 day weekend and the utter insanity gripping Washington, we left town to visit family. But being here in Colorado (where its supposed to be 70 today as opposed to freezing back home). We wouldn’t be taking the toddler down to the mall, so CNN and MSNBC are pretty much the same regardless of where you are.

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Dr. Peter Howard focuses on US foreign policy and international security. He studies how the implementation of foreign policy programs produces rule-based regional security regimes, conducting research in Estonia on NATO Expansion and US Military Exchange programs and South Korea on nuclear negotiations with North Korea.