Weary of the Spectacle

Matthew May
John Adams unwittingly described life in Barack Obama's America when he said "The whole drama of the world is such tragedy that I am weary of the spectacle."
 
Such weariness extends to Obama's second inauguration. It will be a tragic spectacle.
 
Inauguration Day was once the greatest spectacle in ordered liberty. It may be thought of as a secular sacrament for our country. In the past, the occasion has been a celebration of the orderly transition of power, a non-partisan endorsement of the unique nature of the Constitution, and a rite of republican self-government. Inauguration Days have occasioned poetry from presidents, as in the case of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, John F. Kennedy's address in 1961, and, forgotten to history, an appeal to what might have been in the case of the doomed James Garfield in 1881.
 
Yet the most important part of Inauguration Day is the president's taking of the oath. The president repeats the immortal words prescribed by the authors of the republic to the citizens of the republic: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
 
Obama's presence on the inaugural dais mocks that oath and all of its meaning. His is the definition of an imperial presidency that has zero regard for the Constitution and the men who conceived it. Certainly, Obama will read a half-hearted passage or two attempting to pay homage to our creed. In his first, largely forgettable inaugural address, Obama said "Our founding fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man - a charter expanded by the blood of generations. These ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake."
 
Of course, that was nothing more than a political insult to George W. Bush, sitting but a few feet away - a preview of Obama's particular brand of presidential argument. Four years later, we can see that Obama does not take his oath or even his own words seriously.
 
Just a few days ago he declared to Paul Ryan that he and his administration will be in violation of the law for not offering a budget proposal. 
 
He is asserting authority he does not enjoy to brazenly state that he will erode the Second Amendment to the Constitution via a hash of executive orders from which he will choose.
 
He failed to request or receive congressional approval for military action in Libya.
 
He made recess appointments in violation of the Constitution when the Senate was not, in fact, in recess by declaring, as would a king, the Senate to be in recess.
 
He bailed out Chrysler in direct violation of the Constitution's Takings and Due Process Clauses.
 
His attorney general is overseeing a gun-running operation for criminals in Mexico.
 
The complete, dishonorable list is long. It will grow exponentially.
 
Are these actions that of a man who celebrates the rule of law? No. They are the actions of a man with no use for the Constitution and certainly no use for the phrase "preserve, protect, and defend." Obama rejects the concept of federalism as defined by Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy: "Federalism is more than an exercise in setting the boundary between different institutions of government for their own integrity. By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power." Should we give up these ideals for expedience sake? Or the sake of Barack Obama?
 
Obama's actions and stated plans to encroach upon different institutions of government and the liberty of the individual in order to assert arbitrary power have thus reduced the solemnity, comity, and spirit of Inauguration Day to farce. In January 1969, Richard Nixon began his inaugural address invitingly, neatly capturing the spirit of the peaceful transition of power envisioned by the geniuses who framed this republic: "I ask you to share with me today the majesty of the moment."
 
In January 2013 there will be no such majesty. There is no majesty in the tragic spectacle of the coronation of a tyrant.
 
Matthew May welcomes comments at may.matthew.t@gmail.com

John Adams unwittingly described life in Barack Obama's America when he said "The whole drama of the world is such tragedy that I am weary of the spectacle."
 
Such weariness extends to Obama's second inauguration. It will be a tragic spectacle.
 
Inauguration Day was once the greatest spectacle in ordered liberty. It may be thought of as a secular sacrament for our country. In the past, the occasion has been a celebration of the orderly transition of power, a non-partisan endorsement of the unique nature of the Constitution, and a rite of republican self-government. Inauguration Days have occasioned poetry from presidents, as in the case of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, John F. Kennedy's address in 1961, and, forgotten to history, an appeal to what might have been in the case of the doomed James Garfield in 1881.
 
Yet the most important part of Inauguration Day is the president's taking of the oath. The president repeats the immortal words prescribed by the authors of the republic to the citizens of the republic: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
 
Obama's presence on the inaugural dais mocks that oath and all of its meaning. His is the definition of an imperial presidency that has zero regard for the Constitution and the men who conceived it. Certainly, Obama will read a half-hearted passage or two attempting to pay homage to our creed. In his first, largely forgettable inaugural address, Obama said "Our founding fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man - a charter expanded by the blood of generations. These ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake."
 
Of course, that was nothing more than a political insult to George W. Bush, sitting but a few feet away - a preview of Obama's particular brand of presidential argument. Four years later, we can see that Obama does not take his oath or even his own words seriously.
 
Just a few days ago he declared to Paul Ryan that he and his administration will be in violation of the law for not offering a budget proposal. 
 
He is asserting authority he does not enjoy to brazenly state that he will erode the Second Amendment to the Constitution via a hash of executive orders from which he will choose.
 
He failed to request or receive congressional approval for military action in Libya.
 
He made recess appointments in violation of the Constitution when the Senate was not, in fact, in recess by declaring, as would a king, the Senate to be in recess.
 
He bailed out Chrysler in direct violation of the Constitution's Takings and Due Process Clauses.
 
His attorney general is overseeing a gun-running operation for criminals in Mexico.
 
The complete, dishonorable list is long. It will grow exponentially.
 
Are these actions that of a man who celebrates the rule of law? No. They are the actions of a man with no use for the Constitution and certainly no use for the phrase "preserve, protect, and defend." Obama rejects the concept of federalism as defined by Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy: "Federalism is more than an exercise in setting the boundary between different institutions of government for their own integrity. By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power." Should we give up these ideals for expedience sake? Or the sake of Barack Obama?
 
Obama's actions and stated plans to encroach upon different institutions of government and the liberty of the individual in order to assert arbitrary power have thus reduced the solemnity, comity, and spirit of Inauguration Day to farce. In January 1969, Richard Nixon began his inaugural address invitingly, neatly capturing the spirit of the peaceful transition of power envisioned by the geniuses who framed this republic: "I ask you to share with me today the majesty of the moment."
 
In January 2013 there will be no such majesty. There is no majesty in the tragic spectacle of the coronation of a tyrant.
 
Matthew May welcomes comments at may.matthew.t@gmail.com