Who Would Deliver Such a Dark, Divisive Inaugural Address?
A Commentary By Charles Hurt
“This was a workmanlike speech. It was short, and he went through it quickly, and it was militant, and it was dark.”
— MSNBC, Jan. 20, 2017
Spring 1865. The president has just delivered his second inaugural address. MSNBC provides live coverage.
“Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented.”
What a cop-out! An inaugural address is supposed to be an opportunity for high oratory, for the president to celebrate the nation’s founding principles. Yet this unfit loser in that ridiculous black stovepipe hat just mails it in and complains that “little that is new” can be said.
Jeez, what a disappointment. We are doomed!
Four years ago, the president darkly reminded us, “All thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war.”
Why all the doom and gloom? Why does he insist on dwelling on the past that is very depressing and sad and makes everybody so unhappy?
“Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came,” he said.
Sorry, Mr. President, your inaugural address is no place for your petty partisanship. How dare you smear your political opponents like that! Have you no decency?
Even more alarming, this kind of nationalism should frighten every citizen of every stripe. It is like all the president cares about is preserving the country! Like, maybe he believes in “America First” or something really dangerous like that. He may not be a racist, but he sure sounds like one!
“Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained.”
Again, Mr. President, enough with the doom and gloom and partisanship! Give us something uplifting!
“Neither [party] anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease.”
Oh, we get it. You just had to get that in, didn’t you? You freed the slaves and so you think you can use your inaugural address to brag about it and wag your finger at everybody who didn’t free the slaves or weren’t quite ready to free the slaves yet or would never be ready to free the slaves.
Aren’t you special? If we had hashtags in 1865, the one for this speech would be #arrogant.
Not only that, it is very insensitive and borders on racial appropriation, which is very racist.
“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.”
Is anybody else uncomfortable with the president’s use of religion in this public address at a public location during a public government-sanctioned ceremony?
Also, did the president just admit in public that he has prayed for God to thwart his political opponents? Isn’t that some kind of violation of 501(c)(3) tax avoidance rules? Can we get the IRS to investigate?
“It may seem strange that any men should dare ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.”
Again with the divisiveness and partisanship!
Oh, and did you see what he did there? He said it and then pretended to unsay it but by that time it was too late. You can’t unsay something, duh!
That would be like saying, “Many people are saying that James Buchanan wasn’t even born in America.”
Or, “I heard Stephen Douglas’ father was in town the same day as the attempted assassination on Andrew Jackson. I don’t know. I’m just saying what I have heard.”
It is just this kind of recklessness that degrades the office of the president. Is it me, or does this guy just not have the temperament to be president?
In closing, the president made a passing reference hoping that the ongoing war might “speedily pass away.” But then he quickly launched into a belligerent threat to continue fighting “until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk.”
And, if that were not threatening and provocative and militant enough, he added that he is prepared to fight “until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.”
So militant! Abusive! Violent!
And then after all that, he tried to soften the whole dark, divisive and low speech by calling for some kind of unity, as if a guy like him were in any position to make such a call.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Those are pretty words and all, but nobody will remember them because of all the doom and gloom and militancy and nationalism and racial appropriation that came before them.
I am sorry, but you sooooo don’t have the temperament to be president. I mean, were you born in a barn? Or, like, a log cabin?
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.
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