Yes, I loved the inaugural speech. It was everything that we needed it to be: honest, open, inspiring, respectful, brave. President Obama (I loved typing that!) reminded us that we can “choose our better histories” and make a new way for America in the world only if we are willing to return to our old ideals and principles about freedom, liberty and justice. He acknowledged that we live in a dangerous time, but reminded us that when this country’s founders wrote the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights, they faced challenges we can scarcely imagine. Yet, they didn’t throw aside civil liberties or bend the rules for any temporary benefit; we won’t be tossing aside those ideals and rights in the name of today’s threats, either. The president boldly changed the course of our public policy in just a handful of sentences. He announced to the world that we will now be friendly, respectful and helpful instead of reactionary, brash, disrespectful, and dishonest. We will not continue to tread on weaker, poorer nations but will offer them what assistance we can, because it’s the right thing to do, it’s the moral thing to do; it’s what we say we stand for as a country and as individuals. Oh, how I hope we can live up to those words!
On domestic policy, President Obama further delivered on his campaign promises of change by speaking of sweeping changes in healthcare, energy, and retirement. To the naysayers and critics who say it can’t be done, he said, “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”
So, here we go into the next chapter of American history. President Obama likened it to putting childish things behind us. We are a young nation and are still reeling from the turmoils of our adolescence, but now it’s time to grow up. Now it’s time to be mature, to do the right thing, to make reasoned and reasonable choices and to act in a rational, dignified way. We can’t keep throwing tantrums and behaving foolishly if we want to continue to be on top. Time for a new day.
Thank you Mr. President.