Here’s one final thought on Obama’s presence during his inauguration speech.
Think about how you felt while listening to his speech. Then read the text of his speech. Do you get the same feeling?
If we go through the various ways we could have taken in his speech, we’d get varying degrees of his presence:
- Reading the text would capture his ideas.
- Listening to the speech on the radio, we would get a much greater sense of Obama himself, his rhythm and pacing as he delivered his words, and a feeling for what he felt was important through his tone of voice.
- Watching him speak on TV, we would not only get his ideas and the emphasis he places on different aspects of his talk, but we would also see his stature, his body language, the calm and reassuring demeanor.
- Sitting in the front row as he delivers the talk would give us the full impact of his talk and his presence which gets conveyed through a felt sense of the human to human connection with Obama as a person.
And while I’ve heard people say that there’s nothing exceptional in the words of the text – no quotable punch lines – I walked away from the speech (having watched it on TV) feeling that this was an important speech. I felt reassured, inspired, and full of a calm certainty that we are in the right hands at this moment in history.
And, I got this far more from Obama’s presence than his words. I only wish I could have been there in person.
I’d be interested to hear from those of you who were there and able to watch him in person.