Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama calls for return to "old truths."

Speaking at a time of "gathering clouds and raging storms" Obama's inauguration will be best remembered because he stated what was obvious:

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

It was, indeed, an epic moment which will be remembered down the ages. However, what impressed me most about it was the way in which Obama took first a scalpel and then a sledgehammer to the policies and the mindset of the neo-cons and the Bush administration.

He also said, "we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals" reminding the hundreds of thousands gathered that:
Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expediences sake. [...]

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions
. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

It was as brutal a repudiation of Bush - and his demand that citizens surrender more and more rights and civil liberties in order to be safe - as one could hope to hear.

Obama placed those civil liberties as essential to winning any fight against extremists and, in doing so, explicitly denounced the tactics of the Bush administration in both policy and in tone.

And then, in what is surely an anathema to everything Bush and his breed believe, he stated:
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.
And, in a stunning rebuke of the previous president, sitting only feet away, he said, "because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government." Clearly implying that this trust has been eroded by the previous occupant of that high office.

The new president has made abundantly clear that, unlike Bush, he understands the truth behind the words of Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would sacrifice a little liberty for a perceived increase in security, deserve neither - and will eventually lose both."

Yes, it's wonderful that America has elected it's first ever black president, but it's also wonderful that they have elected this particular man at this particular moment in time. A man who understands that America's ideals are her greatest strength, and that they cannot be traded away when they are threatened by extremism. Indeed, that is the very moment at which they should be most fervently upheld.

He ran promising "change" and - if his inauguration speech is any indication of what to expect - he intends to reverse the mindset of the Bush administration 180%.

The world will collectively sigh with relief. "Old truths" will once again guide the White House. The nightmare is officially over.


I'm watching CNN as Obama strolls towards the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue.

I can't help but remember the fact that Bush couldn't do this because his motorcade was being pelted by eggs.

Click title for full text of Obama's speech.


daveawayfromhome said...

How happy I will be should that turn out to be true. And it's got a good chance to be so. But I'm not counting any chickens here while I've still got a basket full of eggs. Bush said lots of pretty words, too, but in the end his actions spoke much, much louder.

So, we'll see. I still have hope, though. I'm waiting to see what he does about past BushCo crimes. Without justice for the crimes committed then, there can be no true rule of law in the future, and America will be nothing more than Mexico with cable TV.

Kel said...

Dave, like yourself, I will wait until I see what does, but he strikes me as a much more sincere and honourable man than Bush.

I think there are two separate issues here though. He WILL end the illegality and return the US to the rule of law.

The question of whether or not he will prosecute those responsible for war crimes is an entirely different matter. I have made clear often enough on here why I think it is imperative that he does so.

But he has made clear that he intends to reverse the policies of Bush and Co and, in that respect, I have no reason to doubt him.

Ingrid said...

Kel, what a day!! My son was home due to extreme allergies which turned out well because at his little school I do not think their tv was working! We both (him 11 and me..well..) were cheering from time to time and I could not help feeling emotional. His speech was EXCELLENT! A fellow blogger that I know from another part of the country called me and said, did you notice that it looked like Bush looked at Obama as if he never heard him speak before?? Bush and his fellow crooks were definitely given the stern reproach but it was done so elegantly, I don't know if he even got it!! ha
also, this blogger friend is a nurse by training and she said that seeing Dick Cheney (which, sorry to say, I felt a certain satisfaction with, how symbolic) in a wheelchair PLUS carrying a cane, that she wondered that he did not perhaps have a small stroke rather than just having pulled a muscle in his back. But at any rate, we'll see how these words will be followed up by actions.
I'm about to head out for a friends' birthday-slash-inauguration party (fajita and drinks) so I'll be back..

Kel said...


I also found it very emotional. He was stating his intentions, and he certainly stated that they were the polar opposite of the intentions which Bush has employed since 9-11.

I thought that was an important place to start from.

It was a happy, happy day.