Obama shows grace during Oath gaff

art_obama_oath_cnnI doubt if there is anyone left who either hadn’t seen or heard about the stumble that happened during the swearing in of President Obama. There have been a number of comments about it, ranging from simple amusement and understanding of the jitters to scathing criticism of Justice Roberts for messing up a historic moment. Upon witnessing the missteps, I also expressed disappointment at this unfortunate gaff. This was truly a once in a lifetime moment, and it should have been meaningful for all the right reasons. If there is one thing that can be learned from this incident, it is this: we all make mistakes.

I doubt if there is anyone more upset about this than Justice Roberts. Supreme Court justices don’t come out into the light of day for public events all that much and now he’ll forever be remembered for this mistake. I feel badly for him, and am especially impressed with President Obama for his easy manner and apparent understanding of the situation. It’s too bad things weren’t handled more smoothly, and unfortunately Roberts will have to deal with this humiliation for a long time. No doubt he has done a multitude of things well and is obviously a qualified judge to sit on the bench. Having the fumbling of the oath of office played over and over again might have an affect on his public image.

As pastor, I can relate a little bit to the pressure Roberts felt standing before Obama and millions of people. Of course, standing before a congregation for a funeral, wedding, or sermon can’t compare to the masses in Washington D.C. last Tuesday. But, pastors and ministers deal with ceremony and special events regularly and the opportunity to mess up is real.  I feel badly for Roberts, his mistake was broadcast to the whole world. The truth is we all make mistakes, and I appreciate Obama’s willingness to offer understanding to Roberts after the judge apologized for it.


3 thoughts on “Obama shows grace during Oath gaff

  1. I may just be overly forgiving, but I never saw a problem with the original. The meaning of the oath didn’t change by moving the one word — both forms are grammatically correct. Sure there was some stumbling, but really? A do over? I’d much rather get the meaning of the oath than the precise words. That may be why I had trouble with Bible Drill as a kid ;0)

  2. Yes, I can see your point and would not get irate about it if they hadn’t done it the 2nd time. It seems kind of strange to do this again, especially since there weren’t any TV cameras there to record this moment. I’m not sure whether there was any controversy about it to begin with other than the mixup of words. But, the constitution has a specific wording so they wanted to comply.

    I’m sure four years from now there will be additional interest on the part of the inaugural. I did wonder whether Roberts and Obama at least rehearsed the words to get the phrasing right. Reminds me of leading couples in their marriage vows.

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