"The Inauguration of President Barack Obama," a Commentary by Diana L. Eck

January 20, 2009

Author: Diana L. Eck

Source: Politico


The strength of our patchwork heritage. . .

The huge and diverse, cheering crowd on the Mall was a visual counterpart to a unique part of the inaugural address. Coming right after his powerful words to those "who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror," he spoke of the strength of our "patchwork heritage." In an era in which some have been derisive about "diversity" as some kind of liberal agenda, it is good to have our diversity visible and vocalized as clearly as it was today.

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. . . . " This is surely the first time a new president has mentioned Hindus as part of our great diversity. As a student of Hinduism -in both India and America-I was impressed with these words.