Obama: “Our journey is not complete…”By Afrique I. Kilimanjaro
Published: January 26, 2013
- “You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”
Barack H. Obama,
44th President of the United States
One Hundred fifty years after the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation and forty nine years since the historic March on Washington where the late Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream Speech,” America inaugurated, for the second time, its first African American President, Barack Obama.
More than one million people gathered at the U.S Capitol and on National Mall to witness the president being administered the oath of office, once again, by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Obama gave an inaugural address disclosing a plan of action rooted in working to truly achieve liberty and equality for all. The ideals of liberty and equality, Obama explained, were solidified in the Declaration of Independence and reiterated in Dr. King’s 1963 speech, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”
Inauguration attendees seated in Section 11, located at the base of the Capitol Building, were excited and inspired by the pomp and circumstance of the day. California native Dave Overton explained, “This is a day I will tell my children and grandchildren about for years to come. “Yeah, I’m here man and it’s a beautiful moment. It’s amazing to see the rainbow of people coming together to witness history being made.”
Massachusetts resident Melanie Greene attended the inauguration with her husband and two sons. She said, “This is a very historical moment and I wanted to experience it with my family. And because it’s Martin Luther King’s birthday, we are bearing witness as part of his dream and legacy are being fulfilled.”
Whereas Obama’s 2009 inaugural address strove to bridge a divide and promote reconciliation and cooperation between people and political parties, his 2013 address systematically laid out an agenda focused on galvanizing the participation of everyday people to be a voice in the political process beyond simply voting. The president said, “You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”
Obama said the oath of office “is an oath to God and country and not to party or faction.” As for the policies which were not implemented during his first term, the president said, “Our journey is not complete.” He outlined a direction of inclusiveness and for the first time, the rights of gay Americans was mentioned in a presidential inaugural address.
The president discussed the need for “we, the people,” to raise our collective voices to protect social security and Medicare; invest in technology, revamp the tax code, reinvigorate schools and respond to climate change. He also discussed the need to pursue sustainable energy sources. “That’s how we will retain our economic vitality and our national treasures… that’s how we will preserve or planet commanded to our care by God,” said Obama.
The president reiterated that our journey is not complete. He said, “For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are 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. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity … Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they