Inauguration Essay

"I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world."

Just hours after Donald Trump was officially sworn in as President of the United States, Dan Rather took to Facebook to share his thoughts on what he called the most "divisive" transition of power.

In a pensive essay posted Friday morning, Rather reflected on the "simmering ache of dread" that Inauguration Day has brought upon the nation.

"Of the nearly 20 inaugurations I can remember, there has never been one that felt like today. Not even close. Never mind the question of the small size of the crowds, or the boycott by dozens of lawmakers, or even the protest marches slated for tomorrow across the country," he wrote. "What is truly unprecedented in my mind is the sheer magnitude of quickening heartbeats in millions of Americans."

He continued, "I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course. ... I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world."

The former CBS News anchor went on to note that he hopes Trump's new position of power "might change him." 

"Perhaps, as he stood there on a grey, drab, January day, reciting the solemn oath of office demanded by our Constitution, as he looked out across what Charles Dickens once called the 'city of magnificent intentions', he would somehow grasp the importance of what he was undertaking," Rather's post read. "Perhaps he would understand that he must be the president of all the United States, in action as well as in word."

Rather went into description about Trump's inaugural address, describing his actions at the podium as defensive and unfitting of America's new leader.

"Mr. Trump's delivery was staccato and there was very little eye contact as he seemed to be reading carefully from a teleprompter. His words and tone were angry and defiant. He is still in campaign mode and nary a whiff of a unifying spirit," he wrote, continuing to paint a picture of the scene.

"The applause was sparse, and I imagine many more being turned off, even sickened, rather than inspired by what our new President had to say. President Obama looked on with an opaque poker face. One could only imagine what he was thinking."

Rather ended his essay by noting that "our democracy demands debate and dissent" and that a tide of opposition would likely be forthcoming. 

"These are the swirling currents about our ship of state. We now have a new and untested captain. His power is immense, but it is not bestowed from a divinity on high. It is derived, as the saying goes, from the consent of the governed," he concluded. "That means President Trump now works for us — all of us. And if he forgets that, it will be our duty to remind him."

Read the full post here.

Essay on Obama's First Inaugural Speech

624 Words3 Pages

Picture this: a cold January day in Washington D.C, the first African American president is about to be inaugurated with a combined audience of over 38 million looking to be inspired.
Ted Sorensen, a former speechwriter for John F. Kennedy, believes “An inaugural address is by definition a defining moment for any new president.” An inaugural address is a stepping stone for each new administration because it creates a first impression; the address marks the time when the president stops trying to win votes and starts taking action. Barack Obama's speech is filled with eloquent language, and it lived up to the expectations of both critics and the public. The speech, as described in the “Think Again” section of the New York Times was…show more content…

Barack Obama's powerful diction creates hope for the future of the United States with word choices such as “continue,” “shifted” and “ambitions.” Barack’s shift from informal to formal diction constructs an image of unity through the usage of simple, personal pronouns, such as “we” and “us.” The shifts from informal to formal and back appeal to the emotions of the audience because they feel as if Obama is talking directly to them. His allusions to the Bible are sentimental because when he says "the God given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness" he creates a bond between himself and his audience. His words have a motivating connotation that appeal to both logos and pathos. The way in which Barack Obama presents his ideas allows his audience to have confidence in him and his role as president.
Within his speech, Barack Obama admits that the United States is in the "midst of a crisis" but he believes that it can change, but he also makes it clear that the change cannot happen overnight. Obama's inspirational tone stirs up the nation with phrases such as “dust ourselves off” and “bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions.” Barack Obama's message persuades his audience because the message is believable and delivered by an honest man. In his previous speeches, Obama spoke of race and prejudice, an economic crisis and his hopes and fears with such intelligence that when

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