Generous Orthodoxy  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration trivia-- the "oaf of office"

One of the NYC tabloids headlined "the oaf of office," referring to the Chief Justice's botching of the words of the Inaugural oath. Any member of the clergy who has ever performed a marriage must immediately have recognized what went wrong. The Chief Justice gave Obama too many words at one time, setting off a series of overlapping mistakes. He said, "I, Barack Obama," and paused for just a split second, at which point Obama quite naturally began to repeat, "I, Barack Obama," thinking that the Justice was waiting for him, whereas what was actually happening was that Roberts was forging ahead with "do solemnly swear" without waiting. Obama therefore began again, but by that time Roberts was plowing on with his botched version of the rest of the oath.

Everyone who has ever presided at a wedding will testify that on such important and nervous-making occasions, the vows should be parcelled out only a few words at a time unless the couple is extraordinarily cool. At the Inauguration it seems that it was the Chief Justice who was nervous!

In any case, was it not a most glorious day in the history of our Republic?