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Obama’s Address Was a Rejection of Every Aspect of Conservative Ideology
In 1776, Pierre Eugene du Simitiere suggested a motto to the committee responsible for developing the Great Seal of the United States that was adopted by an act of Congress in 1782 and remains a defining description unique to America. The phrase, E pluribus Unum, means “out of many, one,” and although at the nation’s beginning it signified that out of many colonies, or states, emerged a single nation, it came to mean that out of many peoples, races, religions, and ancestries arose a single people; Americans. The idea of all Americans as citizens constituting “we the people,” or “out of many, one,” has been under sustained assault by conservatives pitting the rich against the masses, and pious fanatics against advocates of religious freedom, and that divisiveness defined every Republican proposal and piece of legislation over the past four years. Yesterday during President Obama’s Inaugural address, he sent a strong message to Republicans, and the nation, that the Founding Fathers original intent of “we the people” are all created equal will be the driving force behind his Administration’s path forward as a United States.
The overriding theme of the President’s speech was not necessarily setting a particular agenda for the next four years, although liberals were pleased he addressed climate change, protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and gay rights, but that all Americans deserved the same protections and opportunity to succeed which is in-and-of-itself a uniquely liberal ideology. In fact, if one analyzes the President’s speech carefully, every aspect and subject he touched on was contrary to conservative ideology, and none more than we the people, together, will face the challenges ahead as a united people, for all the people, and not by the wealthy for the wealthy. The President signaled that the thirty year conservative practice of elevating the wealthy above the rest of the population for special treatment and privileges befitting royalty has come to an end and America is returning to its founding principles.
President Obama began his address reminding the nation that the patriots of 1776 did not replace a tyrannical king with the privileges of a few, and it was a direct reference to Republicans’ practice of ceding power and the nation’s wealth to the richest 1% of income earners at the expense of every other citizen. The President’s reference to Republicans’ government for the rich could not have been more profound as he said, “We, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” and that “We discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play” in a direct reference to the GOP’s practice of deregulation and tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations that is driving America’s declining prosperity for the masses.
The President also addressed the Republicans’ intent to abandon the most vulnerable with cuts to social safety nets to make room for more entitlements for the wealthy and corporations, and reiterated that “Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune,” and that “the commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers.” The stark contrast between Republicans claiming so-called “entitlement spending” robs the wealthy (makers – job creators) of their rightful due and the idea that we the people take care of the poor, elderly, Veterans, and children could not have been better defined, and it highlighted this President’s belief that all Americans are equal and deserve basic human necessities regardless misfortune, age, or ill-health; necessities Republicans claim are a privilege of wealth and power, and not basic human rights.
For the past four years, Republicans and their teabagger subset have worked tirelessly to push the nation’s people farther apart in their deliberate attack on unity, and the idea that every American deserved equal rights whether it is the right of decent healthcare, education, or security in their old age. Yesterday, President Obama reminded conservatives that all Americans deserve equal treatment regardless of their station in life, and that together, we the people have an obligation to our fellow citizens to make “these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American” and it is the converse of everything Republicans have promoted for a generation.
The President laid out an agenda for the next four years that spells the end of Reagan-Republicans’ thirty year deification and preferential treatment of a small class of extremely wealthy Americans, and there can be no mistake that President Obama is reinstituting the idea that all Americans are equal and as equals, we are one people. Religious sensibilities, wealth, sexual preference, and ethnicity notwithstanding, the President reminded Americans that whatever challenge the people face, they face it together, and the days of elevating the wealthy elite above the masses are over. The Republican tendencies toward inequality based on wealth is not the American people’s birthright, and yesterday, President Obama reminded all Americans that “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still.” One hopes Republicans got the message that Americans are one people, and thus deserving of the same rights, privileges, and benefits of citizenship as the wealthiest American, and regardless if it is decent healthcare, a job, home, education, or secure retirement, together, we the people will fulfill our obligation as citizens to citizens;” a concept Republicans will never understand.