Our country is a mess, my friends, and no president can do much about it. The economy is what you believe. You wanted change? Start believing. At most, and only if good citizens like you comply, a president sets a tone for the national conduct. If his example doesn’t persuade, he has no power to compel millions of citizens except by martial law. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. I’m sorry, this should be an auspicious occasion. You’ve traveled long distances to stand in the cold; you’re not here to be overtly threatened, but listen: I can veto but not legislate, appoint judges but not fire them. The Congress will not allocate me a penny to spend as I wish. I can, however, declare war and unleash annihilation wherever I like. What kind of job is this! My chief of staff has tried to explain with his favorite sports metaphors. The President does not play, he says: he cheerleads, he grandstands, he coaches. Perhaps others before me have, or maybe the chief doesn’t understand politics, or me, as well as he understands football. I have an agenda, America. You’d better impeach me now if you wanted a coach: it will take years to unseat me; I have lawyers by the boatload. Meanwhile, expect to see me travel a bit. They’ve given me a plane. Wherever it touches down is American soil. My friends, all we have done as a country, for good or ill, has brought us to this frigid day on the nation’s lawn amid monuments to our past achievements, blah, blah, blah. There is no looking back, friends. We’ve been at odds with this planet long enough. You will follow me or not, but I will make our presence felt in the world as never before.

Copyright © February 7, 2009 David Hodges

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