Inaugural address shows progress
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 3, 2013 19:02
President Barack Obama gave his second inaugural address to the American people Jan. 21 and the timing could not have been more appropriate.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered the indelible “I Have a Dream” speech, as well as the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
No one could have pictured at those times what revolutionary progress lay ahead: Barack Obama was not only elected President, but re-elected. His book “The Audacity of Hope” was integral to the theme of hope in his 2008 campaign, but his second term is definitely more focused on audacity itself.
From an unwavering unwillingness to cater to Republicans over the fiscal cliff to the refusal to let minorities remain treated unequally, that Monday morning brought us an even bolder, tougher Obama—an Obama that has proudly brought back liberal partisanship and is not afraid to show it.
An uncomfortably cold temperature and hours-long wait were no match for the hundreds of thousands of people’s desire to see President Obama up-close. The blocked-off D.C. streets were swarming with eager fans, slowly filtering into the Capitol through several layers of rigid security.
These were the same people who knocked on doors in their neighborhoods, phoned perfect strangers, and waited in line at the polls on Election Day to ensure his win. These were the very people to make this day happen, to make his being there a reality.
Obama made it abundantly clear that he will not cut programs such as Social Security and MedicAid in order to reduce the national debt. The Congressional GOPs that are vehemently against this do not seem to phase him. He has made a strong case for liberalism and plans to carry it out how he sees fit.
Obama has gone beyond trying to appease everybody, which he has learned from his first term is an impossible task. While he may not be siding with the Right, the President is determined to speak up on behalf of those who have not yet reached equality in the eyes of America.
Many of the President’s supporters are members of society that have not always been (and still are not fully) treated equally. President Obama was not afraid to address these people, many of whom were standing at the Capitol watching him.
President Obama is not only a beacon for the African-American community, but also for women’s rights. Furthermore, he is the first sitting president to ever openly support same-sex marriage. In fact, during his speech, he compared the plight and fight of all three in a single sentence:
“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; just as it guided our fore bearers through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.”
There were many members of the aforementioned groups standing in the crowd who appeared wholly touched by the valiant sentiments of President Obama. This unprecedentedly courageous outward support for these formerly (and sometimes still) oppressed people is a ringing declaration that America is headed in a new direction: forward.
Some still may believe that the 2008 election of President Barack Obama was more noteworthy than his 2012 re-election. The former was certainly a first in American history, but the novelty of that first-ness has worn. In 2012, Obama won the presidency purely based on the people’s faith and desire to keep progressing. That, in and of itself, is history.