Monday President Barack Obama took the oath. His eloquent speech was historic because he set forth in detail his vision for America. He envisions a country unified, and he really defined what being “equal” really means:
“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.”
President Barack Obama stresses equality in his 2nd Inaugural Address
One of the first things he addressed was the growing inequality of income stating that the nation can not continue down this path.
“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 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.”
The president said that equality must not only be in the eyes of God but in our eyes as well:
“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.”
Infrastructure, not politics stressed in President Obama's 2nd Inaugural Speech
He laid out specifics including harnessing new ideas and technology, revamping the tax code, reforming our schools, and job training. He added bringing down the deficit and reducing the cost of health care.
The president addressed entitlement programs saying they do not make us takers:
“But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future... We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few... 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.”
President Obama's stated foreign policy in his Second Inaugural Address
On foreign policy he advocated a policy of war as a last resort.
“We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully - not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear... We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice - not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.”
President Obama on voter suppression, immigration, climate change
The president addressed Republican efforts at voter suppression: “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”
Immigration reform is a key issue the president said must be addressed:
“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.”
Climate change and renewable energy were cited as things that can no longer be ignored. Renewable energy, he said, is key to our economy and America must not cede that to other nations.
Lastly, he set forth our obligation to the children: “Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of New town, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.”
He ended with a challenge:
“You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country's course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time - not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals... With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.”
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