January 20, 2009: The better angels of our nature

our better angelsChange has come to the White House.  Among the signs: the new White House blog, which affirms the commitment of the Obama administration to three core principles: communication, transparency, and participation.

Among its first posts was this one, proclaiming a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation:

We are in the midst of a season of trial. Our Nation is being tested, and our people know great uncertainty. Yet the story of America is one of renewal in the face of adversity, reconciliation in a time of discord, and we know that there is a purpose for everything under heaven.

On this Inauguration Day, we are reminded that we are heirs to over two centuries of American democracy, and that this legacy is not simply a birthright — it is a glorious burden. Now it falls to us to come together as a people to carry it forward once more.

So in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, let us remember that: “The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

It is enough to move even an atheist like me to say, “Amen.”

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