President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address to the nation on Monday was a reminder how far America has come and how far we need to go. He pointed out so boldly that America is at a turning point in its history. We can retreat back into the 20th century with old, stale and outdated thinking or America can forge ahead with a new dynamic, multiracial democracy, where all men and women of all races, sexual orientations and creeds are truly equal.
President Obama’s call for unity was music to the ears of progressives all across America; the melting pot of humanity that witnessed his swearing in swayed to the sounds of America as his voice echoed diversity. His vision – a mirror for many like minded people – portrayed a land where people of all colors and races blended together in a mosaic of mankind drawn together by a sea of altruism, brotherhood and peace. A vibrant America where the ideas of our best minds are allowed to flourish in a fully-funded education system where new immigrants are encouraged to stay and become part of the American dream is the hope of many who now live undocumented in America from the Far East to Russia and every country in between.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking towards the Capitol, Barack Obama looked across the mall, past the Washington Monument, towards the same memorial. In a parallel moment in time the two giants connected – as if both men were reaching out to shake hands across the Mall – melding Dr. King’s dream and President Obama’s vision into one: where all God’s children can live in peace and prosperity.
Mr. Obama called for a rebuilding of America – not only in the infrastructure, but a rebuilding of the American Spirit where brothers and sisters of all races and those born into poverty will have the same opportunities as those who, by luck of the draw, are born to wealth. President Obama projected an America with new industry, driven by a new commerce on high speed technology, manufactured in American factories by highly skilled American workers and delivered world wide, as America rebuilds its way out of the recession of old ideas.
The ideas of constant war, underregulated banking and selfishness are to be laid to rest by fresh commitments to community, fairness and peace. Mr. Obama’s vision of peace and prosperity where the least capable are protected in a true safety net mirrors many of the visions of past presidents, and it is his task to convince many on the right into believing their old and tired ways are just that: old and tired.
Monday’s inauguration was a turning point in American history, and those who are hanging on to every thread of their vision of segregation, white supremacy and elitism will be left in the past. Unrelenting, they will continue to obstruct and delay the inevitable rebirth of the true America. Mr. Obama was neither shy nor arrogant in his vision for tomorrow; in reaching out to all who will join him and other Americans as he called for all citizens to involve themselves in the issues of the day, he pointed out how a progressive, open and truly democratic America can grow and flourish in peace.
Peace, what a concept! The American people are tired of two protracted wars and, after 13 years of death and destruction, Mr. Obama knows better than anyone that America needs a time of peace – a time to heal and time to grow. Like pruning a tree in winter, Barack Obama cut away the dead branches on the tree of democracy so new growth, a new America can grow and blossom into the republic Dr. King envisioned.
Image: Dove of Peace, by Pablo Picasso