When Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States yesterday, I was and still am amazed over all the pomp, circumstance, and glitter that accompanies the presidential rite of passage.
It’s a spectacle that stands in stark contrast to Canada’s celebration of a new political leader. New prime ministers are simply sworn into office with little more than a low-key ceremony with the Governor General at Rideau Hall, attended by a handful of dignitaries and family members.
Inauguration day of the U.S. President is a grand affair, with the swearing-in at the majestic Capitol, an inspirational speech to kick off the new presidency, a packed parade to the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue and then a series of star-studded dusk-to-dawn balls.
With such a grand, awe-inspiring celebration, I would expect to see a king being crowned. Yet the United States went to war with Britain to dispose of the monarchy and the entitlement of royalty. It is just pure irony that Americans celebrate and treat their President and the First Family like fairy tale royalty.
And just like the fairy tale kings of old, Obama’s rise to the top is a real fairy tale in the making. For the first time we see a man of very modest parentage rise to the top of an entire nation through a dynamic combination of personal grit, political sophistication, and intelligence. In allowing this to happen, the United States has finally backed up its claim as being a land of opportunity.