Barack Obama of Illinois this Tuesday will place his left hand on the Bible used at the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln 148 tumultuous years ago - becoming the 44th president of the United States and dramatically ratifying the transcendent vision of America's founders.
Yes, those who crafted the union - and even Lincoln, who waged war to preserve it - would have been astonished at the notion of an African-American president.
But so enduring are the principles that informed the founders' labors, and so vibrant is the democracy they brought forth, that such a thing - while certainly noteworthy - seems an altogether inevitable event.Inevitable?
Certainly, Obama takes office with a popular mandate.
For sure, he earned it: He engineered one of the most remarkable bottom-up campaigns in American political history; soundly defeated the candidate of the received wisdom, Hillary Rodham Clinton - and then routed a Republican war hero who brought grit and grace to the contest.
Grit, surely; grace?
And therein lies Obama's great opportunity: He inherits a country hungry for decisive action - which, no doubt, he means to undertake.
But what sort of action?
It is to be hoped that Obama intends to govern from the center. To paraphrase former New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, there should be no Democratic or Republican way to keep the nation safe and sound.I wonder if the Post would have written the same editorial if McCain had won. Nah.