While a segment of Americans were offended by President Barak Obama’s call to enter adulthood, to wit…
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. —- What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility —- The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works —- As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. —- We will restore science to its rightful place…
My single grievance with Obama’s inauguration speech is with the following conjunction of war and economy, with an admission on one side, but not the other:
Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.
No question, taking ownership of a failing economy is easier, less upsetting, than taking ownership of America’s own part in violence and hatred.
But then this reflection on what earlier generations understood, seemed to fill in some of that omission.
They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
And then this promise to watch and wait for:
We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat…
And finally, the broadest reach an American president has taken so far: viz.
A For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
These, for me, are the lines with the salt in them. The hope seasoned lines that I pray we can all taste and share – that perhaps even our own parliament might emulate.