Tonawanda News

Columns

January 20, 2013

Beware where you buy your beer at arena

Tonawanda News — A handful of thoughts to start off the week in news, sports and whatever else strikes my fancy:

I have not missed watching a presidential inauguration speech live since I  was 10. What can I say, I was a political junkie at an early age.

Politics aside, I’m always in awe of the pageantry and civility on display. There’s something amazing watching two political parties come together to affirm the people’s decision and peacefully hand over (or return it, in this case) to the people’s president.

I’m also a lover of rhetoric and there’s no higher calling for political speechwriters than an inaugural address — particularly a second inaugural.

When I sit down to watch it, I’ll find myself thinking about Lincoln’s second inaugural, arguably the greatest speech he ever gave.

Today we think of inaugural addresses and lengthy, wordy affairs. Lincoln summed up the entirety of the Civil War, still raging upon his re-election, in just 701 words. That’s about the same number of words in this column.

Find me a more rousing sentiment than this:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

If Obama has something in him that comes even close to a line like that, I’ll be mightily impressed.

•••

While we’re talking politics, I read with interest the Republican plan to raise the debt ceiling enough to continue negotiating for another three months. 

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