Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Speech

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.

3 comments:

diseyepul said...

Jillian...Obama's speech was inspiring, and everything else it needed to be given the occasion and the circumstances. While I don't wish to diminish his intentions and certainly won't question his commitment, the rhetoric he used in a number of places was almost word for word what Bush said at his inauguration in January of 05. All that means is that the things that were important four years ago still are, and I suspect will be in 2013, when either Obama or our next president is sworn in.

This election was a struggle for me, as I had become dissatisfied with the Bush administration and wanted a change, but still differed on a few of Obama's values. I vote my values and my conscience, but also want what's best for the country. Whether he had my vote or not, he has my support and my prayers as he takes on the unenviable job of trying to reverse what has happened and has been allowed to happen over the past decades. It troubles me to know, however, that regardless the plan put forth, no matter what actions are taken to correct the many serious flaws in our country today, our children and our children's children and likely the generations beyond that will be footing the bill.

We have identified the issues and problems. Our situation is not the product of one man or one administration. It is many people in many walks of life, many decision makers in many industries who have put personal gain ahead of what is prudent or right.

This nation has always been known as one that reaches out to those in need. We have been the caretaker of many of the world's problems, and I would not want to see that stop despite our situation. I hope that other nations will do what they can to help us rebuild, for despite our image in some parts of the world, this planet will fare much better in the presence of a unified, healed and strengthened United States of America. The effects of our success will benefit everyone on the planet.

We have to stop assuming we have God's blessing and to strive to deserve it. As it says in second Chronicles, chapter seven, verse 14"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

I believe that if we forget that simple instruction, anything else we accomplish will ring hollow in comparison to that of which we as a nation under God are capable.

Uncle Bryan

Jillian said...

Hi Uncle Bryan. Welcome to Think Like a Jillian! :)

Tempering my enthusiasm with a healthy dose of reality? Fair enough. But it didn't work. :) I am so incredibly hopeful. I know Obama isn't magic (or is he?!) but I finally feel (for the first time in my life) that this country is on track to something good. And this election was no struggle for me--I agree with Obama on nearly every issue and I trust that he will really try to make good decisions. For me, it is all about being rational and not just making decisions based on ideologies.

Guess we'll see how it goes...

Thanks for reading!

lakeviewer said...

Just lovely, from one northwesterner to another. And not everybody living around bodies of water feel like kayaking or canoeing. Some of us just like to look.

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