If there's any day when our government should inspire us, it's Inauguration Day.
Inauguration Day symbolizes our peaceful political process; the acceptance, by both parties, of the results of elections, and the rule of law. And we should never take it for granted.
But that was just the start of the symbolism, because today is also our national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr., the assassinated civil rights leader. When President Obama was sworn in, he used a bible that once belonged to King, and in another nod to history, a second bible that was Abraham Lincoln's.
"We, the people," President Obama said, "declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still."
Listening to all the patriotic music, looking at all the faces, you might forget that beneath all the pomp, Washington is politically paralyzed, but the president reminded us, with a comment that could have been in a campaign speech.
"The commitments we make to each other – through medicare, and medicaid, and social security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great," the president said.
If today is a day for hope and change, then my hope is, starting today, Washington does change.
They've talked about it long enough.