This blog explores and examines the intersections of rhetoric, race, and religion.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Faith in Values: The President and the Poet
At Monday’s Inauguration ceremony a poet echoed a president, transforming themes of connection and equality into vivid images of color, texture, and sound. Richard Blanco was the perfect choice for inaugural poet, embodying the rich kaleidoscope of our nation’s people. Blanco was conceived in Cuba, born in Spain, and came to the United States when he was two months old. Like President Barack Obama, he grew up negotiating different identities. And like the president, he loves his country.
Blanco read his poem after the president gave his inaugural speech. Although Blanco had written it before he’d heard the speech, his poem was an uncannily close—and beautiful—reflection of the president’s themes.
In the poem’s first lines, Blanco paralleled President Obama’s emphasis on “We, the people”—the notion that we are all connected, even as each of us is unique. “One sun rose over us today,” Blanco began. “My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors, each one yawning to life.”
As if in call-and-response, President Obama said, “America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. … we are made for this moment, and we will seize it—so long as we seize it together.