The timing is impeccable. A "day on, not a day off" service day, combined with a "yes, we can" day makes Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, special.
The "day on" has become a trademark of the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Jan. 15 birthday, now commemorated across the country on the third Monday of January. The slain civil rights leader is the only third person honored with a national holiday, observed by all the states, along with George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
The Inauguration Day for the President of the United States is formally on Jan. 20, which falls on a Sunday this year. In this case, the formal public swearing-in occurs on Monday noon at the U.S. Congress premises, along with public inaugural events around the city. A private swearing-in takes place on Sunday with the chief justice of the Supreme Court administering the oath.
Re-elected to a second term, 44th President Barrack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden performed their day of service Saturday to launch the inauguration festivities in the shadows of a national conversation on domestic tranquility and the impact of a nation’s defensively discussed "second amendment," the right to bear arms. Also referred to as a deep tradition of a "gun culture," casually promoted by Hollywood and buttressed deeply by children’s toys, it is falling under severe judgment as shooting incidences dramatized in the fateful Sandy Hook incident takes center stage in the national conversation.
With the Obama-Biden tandem in the Executive office, we have a silent, though deeply felt, paradigm shift in national symbols and federal policies. At the symbolic level, Obama comes as an offense to the ingrained image of Hail to the Chief as a sole prerogative of "White America." It is a measure of the maturity of this nation that its last election reflected a real choice of moving to an uncharted future, but with no shortage of native confidence in wrestling the great unknown and giving it form in the creation of the new, moving away from the "no longer" into the "not yet."
At the policy level, we have an executive officer who will not hesitate to use the powers of his office when the consensus process runs into legislative gridlock-as it has done many times in his first four years in office. A consensus is building up and the niceties of congressional process sometimes take a back seat to the urgency of a moment.
Yes, we can, focuses on citizens’ responsibility. Let our service give it form this day.
©2013 Saipan Tribune