|Hail to the chief|
Today, on another storm-free day, in front of a smaller but still sizable crowd, President Obama was inaugurated for his second term in spite of his color.
He was re-elected by a majority of Americans who believe he is doing a good job in spite of all the problems that still plague us. The novelty of his skin color has worn off. He is our president.
This is another big step in becoming a "post-racial" society.
Today shows the world that if America can overcome its shortcomings, particularly in racial matters, so can any nation on earth.
I believe President Obama's first term had a direct impact on Myanmar/Burma opening up to democracy in 2010.
President Obama's mere presence as the leader of the free world led to the so-called "Arab spring" that has now turned to "Arab winter" in Syria.
The freedom fallout will continue in despotic nations across the world during President Obama's second term.
Fidel Castro will eventually die during President Obama's second term and we will see Cuba become a democratic nation, one that the president will visit.
North Korea will begin to lose its stranglehold on its people and will succumb to the openness of the internet as it shows North Koreans to see that there is a better way of life out there and that they can have it, too.
Certainly, President Obama won't claim success in any of these areas. His leadership in these trouble spots will be questioned.
But, he's led by example and it's a powerful example of what can be overcome, both here and abroad.
It's a great day for America and for the world.
And, it happened on the holiday to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr.
The deeper meaning of today is represented by many people including President Obama's brother-in-law, Oregon State University basketball Coach Craig Robinson, who wore OSU colors and smiled broadly right near the president on the steps of the Capitol.
This state, never known for its tolerance of "outsiders," now is on the map as a place where African Americans can live and prosper.
That thread of tolerance, however tenuous, connects our country from coast to coast.
Bend resident Myrlie Evers-Williams gave the invocation, by invoking her assassinated husband, Medgar, as well as King and others who bear witness "unseen by the naked eye, but all around us -- thankful that their living was not in vain."
An African-American Navy officer, attending her first inauguration, told the Washington Post she was serving in Iraq during President Obama's first inauguration.
"Now, I'm here to cheer him on," she said. "Everything Martin Luther King marched for and spoke on has come true."