January 20, 2009 by 8junebugs
If you missed it, if you need to hear it again, if you need to read it to know the time has really come, here you go:
Transcript of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address
The Price and Promise of Citizenship
Millions of Americans flocked to my neighborhood this week to see Obama take the oath and assume the power of the presidenct. Why? Because he’s the first African American president? Certainly. Because Obama-the-candidate embraced the technology and energy of a rising generation and connected with supporters on their terms? Of course. Because this is OUR presidency?
Obama has not said, “It will all be okay.” He has not said, “I’ll make it all better.” He has not said, “Don’t worry about it.”
Notice: the price of citizenship comes before the promise.
He has called on all of us, in the tone of JFK, to work with him to meet the challenge of our age. We know what our country can do for us and, for the most part, what we can do for our country. We do not yet know what we can really do for the world, for the cause of good, for the future of humanity. But the 44th president of the United States, in addition to all of his historic personal qualities, believes in us.
And nothing is more inspiring than the confidence of a leader in your promise and principles.
We have stalled progress for eight years — whether because we had the power or because we lacked it — and we, as a nation, have missed global and local cues. President Bush made difficult decisions, yes, and deployed our military and economic forces with all the power of his office. He did so, however, with a rigid mindset and a lack of interest in things he did not already understand. The vision that George W. Bush brought to the Oval Office was an outdated one that stopped at the end of his nose, and he leaves office without any more perspective than that which he brought in.
As we face the next four years, my faith in the new president springs as much from his ability to learn as from his ability to know. He is a bridge between generations, between nations. President Obama carries within him the best of this country’s history and its promise. Regardless of what the mirror shows on the surface, I look at him and think, “finally, a president who looks like me…like what I want to see in myself.”
I’m reminded, as the power peacefully changes hands, of the 43rd president’s claim to be “a uniter, not a divider.” On this day, such an inward-facing claim sounds as hollow and false as it turned out to be. The heart of America does not open to the individual promise of a leader — the heart of America, reborn in each new generation, thrills to a bold call to action, rises to meet the challenge of a leader who believes in those who will follow…and lead as they are called.