With Inauguration Day being just a hop, skip and a jump away, the Democratic Party is pulling out all the stops to celebrate this historic event.
But let’s not forget that President-elect Barack Obama beat his opponent John McCain due in part to his promising financial plan that would fix the economy. And with the economy continuing its downward spiral, Obama’s inaugural committee is sending a dishonorable message to the American public, with all the glitz and glamour going into the numerous inaugural celebrations.
On Jan. 20, Obama will be sworn into office as the 44th President of the United States with an elaborate ceremony and numerous giant television screens going on National Mall. The ceremony will be followed by a parade and at least 10 official inaugural balls.
The cost of the inauguration festivities is expected to cost between $40-50 million, with $1.24 million coming from federal appropriations, according to a spokesperson of the joint congressional committee on inauguration. Most of the money being spent on the inaugural celebration is coming from individual donors.
Over the past few weeks, the Obama campaign has sent out multiple e-mails to the millions of individuals on his mailing list asking for money in order to “organize the most open and accessible inauguration in our nation’s history.”
Donors contributing $10,000 to the Obama Inaugural Committee receive two tickets to the inauguration ceremony. Those who donate $50,000 receive four tickets to the ceremony with better seating arrangements.
How accessible is the inauguration ceremony with tickets only being released for thousands of dollars?
Asking for money during a recession sends a negative message to the public, especially after running the most expensive campaign in history due to the millions of donations contributed by individuals.
Is Obama losing touch with the American people by throwing such an expensive celebration in these times when people are really struggling financially?
In such hard times, it’s disrespectful to create such a shebang with performers, a new tuxedo, and elaborate gowns. Making such a scene only shows a further divide between the wealthy and poor.
During historic times of economic hardships, elected presidents like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge did not have official inaugural balls, but instead held nontraditional charity events. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and William Harding canceled their balls altogether because of the great expense that they saw as unnecessary.
Perhaps Obama would gain even more respect from the nation’s citizens if he toned down next week’s events and made an inspiring speech about how to fix the economy or the need to bring about changes within the markets.
We may want to party like it’s 1999, but we have to remember that it’s 2009.
While we should celebrate this important moment in history, we need to do so with some perspective. Let’s show some respect for the people who got Obama to the grand party in the first place.