There is little doubt that we will long look back on this past Tuesday, and each of us will remember exactly where we were.
Perhaps we will even come up with a catchy name for the momentous occasion that sticks, unlike the snowfall that captured our attention throughout the afternoon. Maybe we'll call it The Blizzard of Naught-Nine.
Oh, wait - you thought I was talking about the inauguration?
Sure, we'll remember that, too. In fact, we don't have much choice.
Between the marketing and the media, or frequently a blurred combination of both, you would have to be stuck in a cave somewhere not to be exposed to everything you could possibly want to know about the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th president of the United States.
It put things in perspective, though, to know that nature's local, unscripted snow show on Tuesday was infinitely more interesting, and certainly less predictable, than the $170 million production playing out in Washington, D.C.
There's a lesson here. Our nation, every four or eight years, conducts a peaceful exchange of power. No matter who assumes the office of president, even one so historically important as Obama, our republic rolls on.
Just like the rare Southern snowfall outside, the pomp and circumstance capture our attention. And just like the weather in Georgia or the previous president, if you are unhappy with it, just wait a little while. It'll change.
It was perhaps an ironic counterpoint to the best-laid plans of men that Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts had a private do-over later in the week after flubbing the only required portion of the inauguration: the oath of office.
In the very public rendition, Roberts failed to pause after Obama said his name, forcing him to repeat part of the oath. And then Roberts got the order of words wrong in the middle, creating another stumble for Obama.
Perhaps I've rubbed elbows with too many paranoids, but I'm sure somewhere someone believes the conservative Roberts was trying to sabotage Obama's moment.
I figure he was just giddy like everyone else.
Speech short, good
Obama's inaugural speech had something else in common with Tuesday's snowfall: Its brevity.
Though his roughly 22 minutes of comments were short on specifics and long on soaring rhetoric, overall I thought the speech was good.
Sure, it provided plenty of fodder for nit-pickers, such as his not-so-thinly-veiled reference to stem cell research.
And perhaps because it was so short and really didn't give him time to get revved up, there were few occasions when he was interrupted by applause - especially considering the very-friendly crowd (unless you were ex-President Bush, who got heckled by some classless members of the audience.)
In any event, I thought the best parts of Obama's speech weren't the hope-for-change campaign rhetoric, but calls for shared sacrifice that reflect post-election reality.
We know the current economic climate isn't good, especially while we're still at war. But ever since the 9-11 honeymoon ended, we've heard far too little about how we're in this together.
Tuesday's speech was a good start. Best of luck to our new president.
Date is set
Columbia County Chief Magistrate Wade Padgett this past week was notified that Feb. 4 is the date for him to be sworn in at the state Capitol as a superior court judge to replace retiring Duncan Wheale.
Soon after, Padgett and his fellow judges will choose his replacement for Magistrate Court, with current associate magistrate Bobby Christine as the top candidate.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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