I don’t know about you, but every now and then I have to pinch myself. I still don’t truly believe that Barack Obama was elected the first time. I remember his walking hand in hand with Michelle in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. I just … let’s just say I had bad thoughts. A second inauguration? No way. Yet, it did happen. It was wonderful.
I have heard the pundits slice and dice Obama’s address. In my opinion, he just said that we need an America where everyone has the opportunity to be great. Everyone can get a good education. Everyone has the opportunity for a good job that pays a living wage. That’s all he said. Don’t believe me –
This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together.
He went on to say:
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.
We need a fairer society that doesn’t discard the elderly or the sick:
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. (Applause.) For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.
Barack Obama didn’t say anything radical. He just said that we need to embrace our ideals.