Wednesday, February 25, 2009

After eight years of mangled words and crude expression, how refreshing was it to witness a president who was quite the opposite? Last night Obama was inspiring, not insipid, direct and yet not threatening, forceful while still conveying gentle optimism and encouraging words of hope. Compared to what we had it was like air conditioning on a 100-degree, humid day. To not see the scowl of Cheney in the background or to hear the many references to war, terror, enemies. It was wonderful.

The moment that was most revealing -- in a disturbing way -- was when Obama said "America does not torture." It was an eerie moment with the sense that everyone in the chamber knew that over the last several years we did exactly that, tortured, despite Bush/Cheney's denials and wordplay around the matter. It was an unspoken, accepted belief in the room that we had tortured and after Obama spoke those words, everyone rose to their feet and clapped, acknowledging that a shameful period of time had finally passed, but recognizing also that crimes were committed and nothing was or has been done. Really sad.

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