Obama’s inaugural speech
The inaugural speech flips a new page in world history in that President Barack Obama stands as the first black American president the US has ever had. The 20-minute speech amidst a revering audience of over a million crowd gathered around the magnificent Mall in Washington, D.C. may very well have drawn the outline of what governments around the world and leaders would expect from an Obama’s presidency. It gives a bird’s eye view on how Obama will start work in remaking America this day and beyond. Compared perhaps to Obama’s victory speech, this latter one comes only as the work of genius if not of a wordsmith par excellence.
Against the backdrop of what the more renowned statesmen from around the world have so far said, there is luminous sign that there is more than high enough confidence Obama has inspired from everyone in the global community – from every man to every woman to every child; from every government to every nation to every ally; and from every friend to every foe to every tribe. True enough, the historic message will be the first social document historians and serious observers of trends will browse back over after perhaps Obama’s 100 days in office. The whole world will be watching each week and month and year to vet how the crisis the world is into has been confronted with under Obama’s so-called regime of change.
Noticeably, the first few words that come of Obama’s well-delivered speech are the words prosperity and peace in the context of an understandable crisis as a consequence of violence and hatred which he did not fail to describe in graphic details as when he said – “Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.” And Obama gives us a sigh of relief in that despite or in spite of these more than real but serious challenges, he tells, as he did tell – “But know this, America – they will be met.” What can be more reassuring if inspiring than that for all the people of the world to hear?
Obama appears to embrace a worldview with strong solid moorings in history as when he echoed and re-echoed the ‘sacrifices borne by (their) ancestors’, the ‘ideals of (their) forebearers’, and more emphatically, ‘the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.’ Perhaps, Obama’s deep sense of humility sparks a light as when he said that the greatness of America is ‘never a given. On the other hand, ‘it must be earned.’
This sense of history has also been reflected in Obama’s all- consuming consciousness not to fail to acknowledge the men and women whom he thinks have carried America and its people up the ‘long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom’ without even as much as appearing to express some sentiment reminiscent of Old America or whipping a word of what then Abraham Lincoln recited in the American public. Truth is, the sweatshops where workers labor; the armed services where military personnel were called to fight and die; the many unknown risk-takers, doers and makers of things – in search of a new life – these were the very people that inspired Obama to a journey that starts on that historic 20st of January in the year of our Lord.
Incidentally, the following words might have to constitute the most beautiful line in that inaugural speech of a young eloquent orator whose charisma touched everyone as when he said – “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.” In so far as other part of the script is written, Obama did not fail to air fair warning against the ‘consequence of greed and irresponsibility’ and thus warned those who manage public dollars to spend wisely and for them to do business in the light of day in order to restore people’s trust in government. To think that in RP, corruption has actually crawled in every layer of the bureaucracy – this warning should serve notice that America does not tolerate nor countenance any shade of greed and irresponsibility as it is most incompatible with US’ leadership by example in this avowed new era of responsibility, new age.
Did not Obama quite eloquently aired the call against corruption. He said – “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Even more eloquently stated, Obama espoused those basic truths which are nothing more than the old values that every well-meaning president will advocate.
To me, the speech is first and foremost, well-thought out and written by presumably Obama himself. While generally abstract, it comes to the average mind as full of meaning, clear in mental images, and strikes a popular cord that most peoples, most leaders and most governments cannot but all embrace and adhere to. The characteristically strong sense of history that the man behind the speech has indicated only tells us that with the elementary recognition of freedom as a gift if not a legacy left by those who fought for America; the return to basic truths or old values that reflect America – past, present, and future; and the a priori knowledge of a God all will serve as the survival kit in the face of a common danger. Obama, from where I sit, will usher us in a world of peace, prosperity, and freedom. The speech serves as a basic textbook for governance. Perhaps, it is also a cognitive map to see how the ship of America sails in the high seas. Bon voyage!
PRIMER C. PAGUNURAN
UP Diliman, Quezon City Email: email@example.com