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The day the world changed

The day of Barack Obama's inauguration, I wrote the following column:

America amazed the world once more today, and maybe even itself.

On a cold and ominous January day of "gathering clouds and raging storms," as he described it, the nation took a step unforeseeable to its founders, unimaginable to generations of its preservers, and made Barack Obama, a son of Africa, its president.

By doing so, the new president said in his inaugural address, Americans kept faith in "our liberty and our creed" and in the sturdy tenets — work, courage, fairness, tolerance, patriotism — that guided the nation through other dark moments.

So did Obama, the child of a Kansas woman and a Kenyan man, take his own remarkable saga and weave it tightly into the American story.

He did it with almost Reaganesque rhetoric, which celebrated the historic change represented by his election, while attributing it to traditional American values.

"What is demanded … is a return to these truths," Obama told his fellow Americans, who must contemplate the economic wreckage and international dangers that afflict them. He stood there because of those ideals — proof of their power, he said.

And now there is work to do, the president told his people. It is time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, discard the "stale political arguments" of the past, and embrace not ideological whimsies, but what works.

To read the rest of my column, click here.