On Monday, President Barack Obama was inaugurated for his second term as America’s first black Commander-in-Chief. He also made history by being only the second president to be sworn in four times, the first being President Franklin Roosevelt, and the only second-term president to be sworn in four times.
Is there no end to what this man can accomplish?
Sweeter still was Obama’s inaugural address, which linked America’s past with its future and took hard lines on a number of important issues. In what was the best speech I’ve heard him give, Obama reminded us of America‘s founding principles as well as the responsibility we all have as citizens of this great nation.
“We have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action,” he said. “We are made for this moment and we will seize it so long as we seize it together.”
The word together was key since Obama’s first term was characterized by partisan division, bickering and a general unwillingness to support anything put forth by our Democratic president.
I was also impressed by some of the issues Obama touched on in his speech, which included gun control, women’s rights and climate change. Obama was also brave enough to mention gay rights, the first president ever to do so in his inaugural address. And what he said struck a chord with me and many others, to be sure.
The president made direct reference to “our gay brothers and sisters” and then did something I wish more people would consider before they judged those with different sexual orientations: he reminded us again of our founding principles. Obama said that gay Americans should be treated “like anyone else under the law–for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. And I have always believed that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” applied to all Americans, not just heterosexuals. It’s time we start holding everyone to the same standards that make our country great. And let’s face it: our founding fathers didn’t omit anyone, so why should we?
Personally, I am excited about the possibilities for the next four years because we have nowhere to go but up. And presidents always seem to get more accomplished during their second terms since re-election is off the table. All I ask is that instead of strengthening our divisions, we focus on banding together to accomplish all of our goals. It will take a team effort to get out of the mess we’re in, so let’s put politics aside and try something unprecedented: cooperation.
Lord knows, it’s been lacking for the past four years!