By Greg Campbell
As America celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Obama was re-inaugurated in the presence of a crowd that could only be described as lackluster when compared to the 1.8 million feverish supporters who flocked to the national mall in 2009. While Americans everywhere cried and hugged each other, each uttering the trite and engrained phrase, “Yes, we can,” in 2009, the estimated 600,000 flooded the national mall, but by so many accounts, the “hope” and “change” shirts were conspicuously absent.
“Compared to Obama’s 2009 inauguration, something was missing. The crowds carried an air of obligation. Those who made the trek to Washington for the day appeared to have done so because they were supposed to, not because they wanted to.
‘It’s the re-inauguration of the first black president,’ one man said into his cell phone while trekking around the mall, appearing to defend his decision to show up for whoever was speaking in his ear.
Excitement was lacking. Energy was non-existent. The magic that only Obama could bring to a country, like he did in 2008, was gone. Unemployment remains as high as when Obama first took office, and gas prices are even higher. The president’s approval ratings are still low.”
After discussing one man’s decision to leave midway through the inaugural speech to find the nearest McDonald’s, Boyle concluded,
“He was hardly the only one unimpressed with the man for whom he voted to lead the free world. Before the president even wrapped up his speech, crowds raced back from the mall. They marched toward the Metro stops in the area to hightail it out of the inauguration ceremony or hoofed it toward their next destination.”
While a presidential inauguration is seldom as hyped or as exciting as a Super Bowl, Obama’s first inauguration was a media event that served as the pinnacle for what Andrew Breitbart called, “America’s first made-for-TV” presidential candidate.
But now, after four brutal years of tremendous economic hardship, multiple scandals and a militancy within the oval office, Americans are tired. Whereas once the president offered hope and change, the cynical tones of the president’s inaugural speech dominated.
Speaking in tones with a pronounced advocacy of big government, Obama stated,
“Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.
Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
He then began to discuss the nation’s obligation to uplift those in poverty, but neglected to discuss the duty to sustainable business practices and the fostering of long-term economic growth. While it was pretty much what one would expect to hear from President Obama, the significantly lower turnout and the change in enthusiasm seems to suggest that times have changed. While Obama was able to secure another term, the thrill seems to be gone amongst many supporters.