I’ve become skeptical of many politicians and know enough about Washington not to be enthralled by Washington or its politics. But I was awed and inspired by the second inauguration of President Obama. It is a day that I am proud to be an American, proud that on the day we honor Martin Luther King Jr, we watched as an African-American president became a two-term president in front of millions of people and Luis León, a gay-affirming, Hispanic religious leader, read the benediction in Spanish and English. I am proud that the President spoke of health care inequality and climate change, education and respect, risk and reinvention and continuing to define the meaning of the words in the Constitution. The words President Obama spoke today were, for me, hallmarks of the country of my birth and my commitment.
“We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. 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.”
“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 forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began.”
Read the full speech.
Whatever one’s politics, it is good to live in a country that holds open, fair (mostly) elections, and a ceremony like the one today is held literally in the open air. As the grandchild of immigrants, a view of the capitol always makes me grateful to be in this country, however imperfect and still a work in progress. It is a happy Monday. Barbara