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Obama promises to “act in our time” during inaugural speech

Coulmn

For The Parthenon

Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 00:01

On Monday, President Obama was re-inaugurated as the President of the United States. Fifty-seven times now, the United States has seen processes of swearing in a new president or reconfirming the power of an existing president. For 224 years, the presidency of the United States has passed from person to person ceremonially, efficiently and — perhaps most importantly — peacefully.

The success of any democracy can be measured by participation in the processes of Government. For most Americans, the most obvious of these processes is voting. While I joined millions of Americans voting for President Obama in November, on Monday I chose to go one step further in the Democratic process, joining 800,000 of my closest friends to watch and listen to Barack Obama’s second inaugural address.

The inauguration is a time of transformation. Washington grows from a city of around 600,000 people to a frenzy of nearly 1.5 million.  The National Lawn changes from a section of manicured grass between the Washington Monument and Capitol to a venue for the largest ceremony in America. And just as General Washington became President Washington 224 years ago, on Jan. 21, 2013, President Barack Obama became a president with the renewed support of the majority of Americans.

In his second inauguration, President Obama transformed from a first term president leading a nation through a financial crisis to a two-term president with a renewed agenda of progress.

Although the Republican Party and other conservative groups have fought hard against Obama’s policies, the renewal of Obama’s vows brings a renewal of the liberal ideologies that have been largely silenced in the last few years by fights over the debt ceiling and other mostly short-term fiscal matters.

In many ways, Obama’s second inaugural address echoed many of the ideas laid out by the President in his primary debates in 2008: equality for all Americans, access to all of America’s resources even by the very poor and the belief that the future of America must be built now with the government’s help.

Make no mistake, this speech will terrify the Tea Party and infuriate many of the more conservative members of the GOP. Despite this opposition, President Obama’s policies have been confirmed by the American electorate and without the fear of another election lingering over him and his policies, many of the promises made in his speech Monday will make their way through the legislative pipeline into law.

Promises of immigration, tax and voting reform as well as a promise to equalize the rights of gay Americans filled Obama’s inaugural address. Indeed, gay equality was mentioned in both the invocation and closing prayers of the ceremony as well as throughout Obama’s speech.

We live in a country where we are free to choose our leaders and to participate in fulfilling their vision. As a young American, I look forward to participating in our American Democracy to help President Obama fulfill his promise to “act in our time” to extend rights to all America, to protect the Constitution of the United States, and to help build the future for the whole world. For the sake of all of our futures, I hope that President Obama’s promises to keep America the best nation in the world continue to come true.

Kuyler McComas can be contacted at kmmccomas@marshall.edu.

 

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