A second term
Leading up to Monday’s presidential inauguration, the nation’s political punditry has engaged in forecasting what a second term for Barack Obama means.
Predictably, the views being expressed were colored by the commentator’s politics or opinions about the man in the White House.
Some believe the 44th president, freed of the restraints associated with re-election, will have more maneuverability when it comes to his agenda ... others opine that the surge provided by his re-election will soon dissipate, leaving Obama without the public and political support vital to advance his vision.
Based upon the first four years, we think the president will prove to be both older and wiser. Given what Obama and the nation went through — continued involvement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Great Recession and a hardening political divide in this country, to name just a few events that shaped our history, or lives, how could he be anything but more seasoned and aware of the realities?
That, however, doesn’t mean we think he’s lost his resolve.
An inaugural address doesn’t always provide the public with what will transpire during the next four years, but the president’s remarks can sometimes set the tone as the country moves forward.
On Monday, Obama said “What makes us exceptional, what makes us America, is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
“‘That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’
“Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time ... for history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing ... that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on Earth.”
The president continued to remind Americans that this nation can continue to reach new heights ... if we work together.
“America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive, diversity and openness, of 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.”
Now it’s time to see how those words are turned into action during the second term, both by the president and the Congress.
But note that he said “we” must seize the moment.
For President Obama was calling on all of us to work together, to set aside petty ideological differences and reject easy black-and-white answers to complex problems.
His speech was not only a blueprint for him, but a challenge for us.