Inauguration Day and the world.
“Upon the success of our experiment much depends, not only as regards our own welfare, but as regards the welfare of mankind. If we fail, the cause of free self-government throughout the world will rock to its foundations, and therefore our responsibility is heavy, to ourselves, to the world as it is to-day, and to the generations yet unborn.”
Theodore Roosevelt 1905, (from the BBC)
Inauguration Day. This is a day every American should take pride in, whether or not his or her candidate won or lost. Today is the embodiment of what America has meant from the moment of her founding and throughout her history. This particular inauguration may be the culmination of the re-affirmation by the majority of Americans for the President, but many other inaugurations have seen the peaceful transition of power from one party to another. Even the much maligned election of 2000 ended with the solemn ceremony of a new President being sworn in. There were no armed mobs in the streets, no military junta seized control. There will, of course, be protesters out in force today, despite the cold and snow. This too is a proud legacy for America. No storm-troopers will break up the protests, no dissidents will be dragged from their beds, and no families will fear a knock on the door in the dark of the night.
Tomorrow there will be reactions to the President’s address, and to the commentary from the faithful opposition, from around the world. The global pres is already covering the inauguration, of course- their favorite themes are the protestors and the cost. Here is a sampling of the global coverage:
From China: Protesters plan to turn their backs on Bush
The day promises to be a series of contrasts between gentility and abandon. Anarchist Resistance Call to Action says it plans to "bring anarchy to the streets of DC" during Bush's "coronation." Bicyclists plan to gather at Union Station, near the Capitol, for a "counter-inaugural critical mass bike ride" to protest sites around town. The D.C. Anti-War Network (DAWN) is calling for "non-violent civil disobedience die-ins to draw attention to the dead at the hands of the Bush administration."
From Saudi Arabia: Anti-War Activists Plan ‘Counter-Inaugural’
The anti-war “counter-inaugural” is being organized by the ANSWER Coalition. ANSWER stands for “Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.” Brian Becker, the national coordinator, told journalists at a recent briefing at the National Press Club, that the coalition of liberal groups was formed shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in anticipation of the Bush administration using this terrorism as an excuse “to carry out a previously planned, aggressive, right-wing, militaristic foreign policy.”
From Canada: Anti-war protesters gear up for Bush inauguration
To spend $40 million at war-time after a disputed election, it's preposterous," said Shahid Buttar, an organizer with the DC Resistance Media Collective who predicts hundreds of thousands will attend events focusing on the Iraq conflict and other issues like abortion and gay rights. Buttar is also angry about steep fees for public events. Entrance to each of the nine balls costs $150 US and the best viewing seats along the parade route run $125. "If you don't have a lot of money, Bush has no time for you. It's just an affirmation of his policies as president, like tax cuts for the wealthy that hurt average Americans."
From Taiwan: Bush's bash will include quite a bit of security
When US President George W. Bush is inaugurated for his second term today, up to 200 central city blocks will be restricted or closed completely to vehicles -- and at least 3,000 police officers will be imported from other jurisdictions.
The event will be highest security inauguration in the country's 229-year history, the first installation of a president since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Bush himself believes the inauguration is "an attractive target for terrorists," he recently told the Washington Post.
From Germany: Not Exactly the Welcome Wagon
Thousands of protesters are expected at US President George W. Bush’s inauguration. While some in Germany will hit the streets, demonstrators really want their voices to be heard during the president’s February visit.
Candlelight vigils, street protests and a Mardi Gras-like parade are some of the events that will bring out hundreds of people in Germany to express their unhappiness with the American president at anti-inauguration activities around the country.
From Switzerland: Bush to start ambitious second term
Analysts see Bush as offering a far more vigorous agenda than in his first term, which became dominated by his response to the September 11, 2001, attacks and the Iraq war. Democrats are already hoping to stymie his plans for revamping the Social Security retirement system and other domestic goals.
From the British- a slew of articles:
House of Bush turns inauguration day into a crowning moment for reign of King George
An inauguration is this nation's equivalent of a coronation, a four-yearly, utterly American mix of reverent idealism, crass commercialism, noisy protest and ruthless networking. Didn't they get rid of a real King George 229 years ago? Indeed, but few historians would dispute that the office of president is more monarchical than ever. Increasingly, it is a battleground for competing dynasties. Once there were the Roosevelts and the Kennedys. Today it is the House of Bush, and who knows, the House of Clinton. In 2008, the election could pit the brother of the present incumbent against the wife of his predecessor.
US prepares for Bush inauguration
The war in Iraq is increasingly unpopular and opinion polls suggest Mr Bush's overall approval ratings are lower than any other re-elected president in recent years.
Memo to Bush: brevity and the Bible
The Bible is nowhere specified in the constitutional article that provides for the inauguration, by the way, but since George Washington used a borrowed one in 1789 it has become an essential prop in the theatricals. So much so that when Lyndon Johnson was hurriedly sworn in by a Texas judge on Air Force One in Dallas in November 1963 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, panicked aides held up the impromptu ceremony until someone could find a copy of the Good Book. Poignantly, they ended up with the only one on board — a Catholic version that belonged to the dead President, found by his bedside in his private cabin.
Friends, Americans, countrymen, send me your cheers
George Bush's inauguration as US president tomorrow is an altogether different matter - a thoroughly imperial event, scripted down to the last detail.
Ignoring the fact that Mr Bush is president already, Republicans are planning a $40m (£21m) celebration they say will be bipartisan. In truth it resembles an election victory party. To deflect criticism, the four-day extravaganza has been dedicated to US soldiers abroad and entitled Celebrating Freedom and Honouring Service
I find it odd that countries ruled by communists, monarchs, an indirectly elected chief of state and a parliament that results to fisticuffs
to solve partisan issues would consider weighing in on this, but their coverage tells us more about them than it does them about us. Today is an opportunity for the rest of the world to see all that is best in the American system in action- if only they will watch with open minds and report what they see, not what they want to see.