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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 20, 2009 at 4:00 PM

The beginning of an era


First lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush wait to wave goodbye as former Vice President Dick Cheney departs on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol after Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States Tuesday.

King to Obama: The journey has just begun

Editor, The Times:

On Aug. 28, 1963, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed his dream for the United States of America, and on Jan. 20, 2009, in front of the U.S. Capitol, Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office to become the president of the United States of America.

From the Lincoln Memorial across the National Mall to the U.S. Capitol is a distance of 1.9 miles. It took 45 years, four months, and 23 days for us as a nation to make the journey from the one historic spot to the other.

I calculate this to be a speed of 7.25 inches per day, a seemingly glacially slow speed, but because of the hope, courage, perseverance and patience of so many, and their willingness to continue to put one foot in front of the other, it was a journey that was possible within some people’s lifetimes.

I am thankful for all those who made this journey possible and wonder if there is anything we could not accomplish as a nation if we were to continue to move forward together with the same determination.

— Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto, Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church, Des Moines

An incomparable occasion

The world watched an incomparable occasion Tuesday. Barack Obama, an immigrant’s son, became the 44th U.S president, the first African-American president — leader of one of the world’s most powerful nations.

The inaugural poetess noted, “many have died for this day.” In fact, slaves helped build the Capitol.

The momentous inauguration represented triumph over suffering, battles fiercely waged, and the cruelty of hatred, discrimination and oppression. A barrier shattered. MLK’s dream was made manifest.

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin stated that Obama summoned us to a larger spirit, calling for a return to the values of our core heritage.

Goodwin observed that for many, the U.S. is more than a country. It is an ideal.

A brilliant man and constitutional law scholar, Obama paid tribute to the Founding Fathers and our Constitution, indicating we would not choose between safety and our ideals.

After leading us into war and financial ruin, George Bush exited the presidency with a 13 percent approval rating.

Obama inherits a herculean task. He spoke honestly about the difficulties our nation faces, yet inspired hope and confidence.

Reverend Joseph Lowery’s concluding prayer invoked the joy of a new beginning.

Millions of smiling faces concurred.

— Bambi Litchman, Tacoma

The torch is passed

I watched the inauguration of our 44th president with a sense of awe. My feelings of pride mixed with trepidation as I realized that we baby boomers have passed an important milestone.

We have elected a president who is younger than me.

The presidency of the United States is no job for a young person. I sure hope the kid is up to it.

— Patrick Murphy, Seattle

Support our new president

History was made Tuesday.

As I sat watching the images from Washington, D.C., covering the inauguration of our new President Barack Obama, never in my nearly 75 years on this Earth have I never witnessed anything to compare it to.

Seeing the tens of thousands of people from all walks of life, from all over these United States of America and from many nations there on the National Mall to witness history being made, I realized just how proud I am to be an American and I have to be honest in saying that it did bring tears to my eyes.

The election and inauguration of Barack Obama is not only a historic day for the United States, but also for the whole world. I also realize that there are the dissenters, those who are against having a black president.

But what I want for those people to realize is that this man has brought something very special to the United States. Not since JFK has there been a president who has sparked in the American public the feeling that this man, Barack Obama, cares about each of them. Our new president has inherited a financial crisis, high unemployment, two wars and conflicts around the world. But I believe the American people feel this man and the people he has selected to serve with him are going to do all they can to solve these problems.

It is now up to all of us to do what we can to support our president, to do all we can as citizens of this nation to confront the challenges we all face. Now is the time to be strong, to conduct our daily lives with honesty, integrity and with a purpose that will help to restore the United States again as a leader in the free world.

— Art Larson, Kirkland

Cast aside ethnic labels

At this historical time, many news commentators are using the ethnic term “African-American” in reporting on Barack Obama. I hope we will someday cast aside the ethnic classification of our people and realize we are all part of the U.S.A., a unique amenity in the eyes of the world.

We have endured eight years of a questionable regime and now hope for a restoration of the nation first envisioned by our Founding Fathers 233 years ago.

— Benton Williams, Port Orchard

Comments | More in Barack Obama administration


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