Welcome, 44*


It’s official, we can all sigh a breath of relief and hope, and George Bush can go crawl back under his Texas rock and be forgotten, or prosecuted, or whatever. Here’s the full text of President Obama’s (how sweet the sound) inaugural address.

*One quibble, one that is trivial, but important for historical accuracy (and judging by my last post on this you are all going to rip into me for focusing on what doesn’t matter in such trying times). Obama said this toward the beginning of his address:

“Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath….”

But, dear President, only 43 Americans have taken the presidential oath. In ordinal terms there have been 44 presidents, but as far as cardinal numbers go, how many presidents we’ve had in total, Obama is number 43. Why? Because Grover Cleveland was president in two non-consecutive terms.

Again, this is not a game-changer but at such a historic moment why not be totally true to what’s transpired in our centuries of history? We’ve endured eight years of misinformation and misunderestimation, and more importantly, we’ve endured centuries of, let’s call it like it is, white, male presidents. I concede that the time that this has been the case is the most important thing, that it took this long for a change is more significant than the number of men who shaped it, so moving forward what’s matters is this day and this moment, but I’m still thankful that it only took 42 men before him, and that the real 43 is someone to be proud of.

Footnote: Here in San Francisco some clever cat went out and changed all the “Bush” street signs to read “Obama” this morning (pic). Maybe the city can make it official?

Onward and upward, 44.

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  • Elizabeth Gettelman is a former managing editor and public affairs director at Mother Jones. To follow her on Twitter, click here.