If you listen to the conservative blogs, you will hear that Obama's inaugural speech was the most liberal speech of he has ever delivered as president. This may be so. It was not all that bad though. If you have been reading this blog for some time, you will know that I agree with many of the policies that Obama addressed today. It was almost like Obama knew what issues play well with the vast majority of the public.
OK, he did, and that is partly why he is willing to fight on these issues. However, that does not change how great it is.First, lets us look at some of the big moments from today's speech. Obama received the loudest cheers when he said that the nation's journey remained incomplete "until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts" and "until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law."
How can anyone not get chills when Obama talks about the United States "allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago?" He moved on to point out that those "self-evident" truths, that all men are created equal, actually also include those of all colors, gender, and sexuality.
Obama forcefully says that "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well."
For many of the young people in this country, marriage equality is a current civil rights fight. Attitudes are changing, and if the opposition stands in the way, they will find themselves moving further away from mainstream American. The Republican Party is on the wrong side of history on this issue. The more time that goes by, the more this issue helps the left.
"We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth."
The President of the United States has come out in favor of marriage equality. This could be absolutely huge. In the end it may be the Supreme Court that decides the issue. If they are true to the words of the U.S. Constitution, they will rule that it is unconstitutional to ban gay couples from marrying each other.
Some of the other issues Obama talked about are the U.S. debt and entitlements.
"We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit."
"The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative."
"They strengthen us."
"They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great."
Here is an issue that Obama is not being completely frank about. Let’s be honest, we have to find a way to fix these programs, or else we risk destroying them and keeping everyone from getting the help they need. However, Obama is correct, the commitments we make to those on these programs, it’s part of taking care of our citizens in need. If we do not find a way to fix them, we will not fulfill that promise.
"It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began, for our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts."
This should have been done a long time ago; why we do not have laws demanding equal pay is mind boggling.
Obama also touched on immigration.
"Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country."
I've said in the past that opposing the Dream Act was a bad move by the GOP. When Mitt Romney attacked Rick Perry over his support of allowing illegal children brought here by their parents to go to college, which made it hard for him to attract Latino voters. This is one more issue that Democrats will win on, and they know it; their meritorious determination to win on these issues made a difference.
President Obama's second inauguration day speech seemed to be aimed on advancing issues that are popular among the people, but not among the GOP house. This was indeed a call to arms, however, it is not that bad. If Republicans were smart, they would cooperate on these issues, then they may even have a chance to win sometime in the near future. However, until the conservative media loses a few more times, I doubt we will see much coming in the form of change in the Republican Party.
All in all, Obama's speech was special, in that it is a call to tackle some important issues, ones that have been used in the past to divide people. If Obama can defeat the opposition for these issues, he will likely go down as being a great president on issues such as equality for marriage, healthcare, and pay. Obama could be be as great as his supporters always thought he was.