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Inauguration of Barack Obama

The Freshman-Sophomore Political Science Honor Society and the Political Science Department once again teamed up, this time to host an event for the inauguration of Barack Obama at the University Commons.  More than fifty students filed in to watch this historic event with their fellow classmates and members of the Political Science faculty.  Co-presidents of the FSPSHS, Mariela Rodriguez and Saleena Siraj, kicked off the event by introducing Associate Professor Daniel Franklin to give a few words preceding the televised inauguration. 

Dr. Franklin reflected a little bit about past inaugurations that were comparable to this one in their historical importance.  During Lincoln’s inauguration 790 federal troops were brought to the capitol for the parade because of fear that he would be shot.  At the time, that was a large number of troops.  For Obama, the troops numbered around 13,000 to watch over the nation’s capitol because of the influx of spectators braving the cold weather to be included in this celebration.

 For any controversial election, the President’s inaugural address and first speech to the nation is a pivotal stepping stone to gaining the respect necessary to become a successful leader of our country.  It is also a time where the new President can give hope to the American people, and this is one thing that Barack Obama does especially well.  Dr. Franklin said, “There is no other speech like this speech” and that this is the “one chance to speak to the world and lay out general principles of his administration.”

Dr. Franklin admitted that Obama had to make a good speech for several reasons.  A new president is always an occasion, but his administration ushers in a new party to power, the Democrats.  In addition, his election is momentous because Obama is now the first black President of the United States of America.  Franklin thought that he needed to undersell the racial aspect in order to make the speech more unifying.  Franklin listed four things for the students to look for in Obama’s speech.  First, he should unite the audience in some aspect.  Second, he needs to transcend the moment which is all part of tradition.  Third, he needs to lay out the general principles of his administration.  And lastly, he needs to show that he understands and appreciates the requirements of the office and that he will not exceed the limitations of the Constitution.

After the inauguration, the Freshman-Sophomore Political Science Honor Society opened the floor for discussion.  Many students found the speech to be inspiring and thought that it did its job of providing hope to the American people.  One student thought that Obama should not have gone into so much detail regarding the state of the country, but another student countered that that was the best part because he was showing that although we may be in this state now, we will overcome the problems plaguing the United States.  Overall, watching the inauguration of our first African-American president was an interesting and educational experience for all.  Barack Obama will now lead our country for the next four years through some of the toughest crises we have faced in many decades.