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Obama Unchained: With Economic Crisis Behind Him, The President Sets an Ambitious Course
Obama the man made history with his first inaugural address. Today, Obama made history with the agenda laid out in his second inaugural.
Here is the video:
The president made right wing heads explode by quoting the Founders to start his second inaugural address, “Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.”
The president spoke of economic fairness, “For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.”
Behind the talk of individual freedoms, President Obama did something else. He enshrined liberal values of the new and minority coalition in American politics. While calling for tax fairness, deficit reduction, and entitlement reform, the president rejected the idea that entitlement programs must be privatized. Obama said that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security free us, not make us a nation of takers, “We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”
The president promised that we will respond to climate change, and called out climate change deniers. He called on America to lead on climate change. The president rejected the neo-con idea of perpetual war, “We the people still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.” The president said America will try to resolve its differences with other nations peacefully.
Obama called for equal pay for women, and our gay brothers and sisters to be equally treated under the law. The president said our journey is not complete until people don’t have to wait for hours to vote. He called for immigration reform, and mentioned gun control. The president called these our values. Progress doesn’t require us to settle debates for all time, but to act in our time. The president said, “It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.”
The president said, “We must act knowing that our work will be unperfect.” He said it will be up to people 4 years, 40 years, and 400 years in the future to carry our work forward.
With this address, Barack Obama enshrined the values of America’s new liberalism in inaugural history. By talking about issues like equal pay for equal work, same sex marriage, climate change, and immigration, Obama’s inaugural address highlighted the new faces of the American left. The president has no more elections to win. These are his values, and they are the values of the majority of Americans.
Barack Obama’s first inaugural address was historic because of the man delivering it. This address was historic because of what that same man spoke about. The coalition that powered him to reelection is now the major force in American politics, and that force is ready to move America in a new direction.
A historic man made history today by voicing the agenda of a new generation that is changing America.