Examining the substance of Barack Obama’s rhetoric, an article in January’s Prospect noted that, not only is there nothing particularly audacious about hope, but if the formulation were reversed to read, ‘the hope of audacity’, it would make little difference to either the meaning or content of the phrase. It was an observation which returned to me as I listened to Obama’s inauguration speech yesterday.
The address was not to my taste. Upholstered by metaphor and platitude, it sounded like narrative from a Hollywood movie. American presidents frequently do. There were traces of a significant message, but it was difficult to disentangle from high flown, meaningless speechifying.
Burke’s Corner takes the US to task for ignoring its own Lockean myth in its inauguration ceremony. It forms less a celebration of sovereignty which rests with the people than a quasi monarchical coronation. Obama is elected whereas our own head of state is not, but it is hard to disagree that this distinction can be rather lost in the pomp and circumstance.
The News Letter reports that the new president might grace Northern Ireland as early as April. If he does pay us a visit it will not be the best day to be a motorist in Belfast.