Our View: President appeals for cooperative action
With 236 years of history as a backdrop, President Barack Obama, began his second term in office Monday on a chilly, but inspiring, day in Washington, D.C.
From the U.S. Capitol steps, in a short inaugural speech lasting just 15 minutes, Obama, America’s 44th president, implored us all to work together to “continue a never-ending journey” to remain true to the nation’s founding creed of equality and unalienable rights.
And to a round of applause, he advised that, “Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.”
The president noted that this generation has faced crises “that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience.” But he described America’s future, if people work together, as one of limitless possibilities because of our youth, drive, diversity, openness, endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. “My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment,” he said, “and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together.”
The president mentioned only briefly the need to deal with the nation’s fiscal woes — which many Americans believe is the top crisis facing the nation today — as he touched on a number of political issues that we’ll surely hear more about as his second term unfolds.
But as he neared the conclusion of his address, he returned to the idea of working together as the nation now moves forward in search of solutions to today’s problems.
“Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life,” Obama said. “It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.
“For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay,” the president continued. “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act knowing that today’s victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.”
President Obama made a plea for cooperation and action sorely needed to address problems facing the nation today. We hope those decision-makers — of both political parties — gathered on the Capitol grounds against this backdrop of history were listening.