An inauguration of a President is proof that our Democracy and our American principles are alive and well, as governance continues seamlessly without bloodshed. Yesterday’s second inauguration of our first African-American President was historic for another reason. It occurred on the day we honored the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. , who told the entire world not far from where our President spoke that he had a dream. That dream was for this nation to “rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'” Yesterday, in a most spiritual confluence of sentiments, our President intoned the same words as “the star that guides us still”. He called upon us “to carry on what [our forebears] began”, to make our national dream/Dr. King’s dream a reality for all Americans.
Recently Washington has been caught in too many and too heated inter-party squabbles that overshadow the difficult work we elected our officials to perform. All too often, we see the sneering and the name-calling. We see hints of racism, sexism and elitism coming from the mouths of our elected officials. Who can forget that on national television our African-American President was called “lazy” and in the halls of Congress our leaders debated the different types of rape, some better than others, some forcible, some not?
Yet, yesterday our President standing shoulder to shoulder with Dr. King implored us to embark on a journey that would not be complete until:
- “our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts”;
- “our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law”;
- “no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote”;
- “we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity”; and
- all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm”.
For a video of the full text of President Obama’s second inaugural address, see: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/inauguration-2013-president-obamas-2nd-inaugural-address-full-18274078, and for the full text of Dr. King’s speech, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/17/i-have-a-dream-speech-text_n_809993.html
In front of hundreds of thousands on the Mall in Washington, DC and in front of millions around the globe via the media, President Obama pledged his second term to making equality a reality for all Americans. It was a historic inaugural speech made on a historic day. Hopefully, his words were more than hyperbole made by a President who was moved by the moment.