Extracts from Obama’s inaugural speech

Extracts from Obama’s inaugural speech

Obama is rather inspiring in his speech. He peppered his speech with words and phrases that highlighted the history, the people, the tribulations that the country is and has been through.

He played tribute to the founding citizens of the country:

… greatness is never a given.  It must be earned.  Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.  It has not been the path for the faint-hearted … Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labour, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and ploughed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life.

He saluted the citizens who are working hard on current or recent events:

… brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains.  They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.  It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

He wants change, and stated plenty in his speech:

We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. 

we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.

 

He extends tolerance to the world, friends and foes alike:

Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. … With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the spectre of a warming planet.

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.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. … To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. …

However, he warns:

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

Copies of the speech in its entirety can be found here and here.

As with the majority of Americans and the rest of the world, I am eagerly waiting to see what President Obama can do.

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