Our 44th President, Second Inaugural

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President Barack Obama publicly sworn into office for his second term.

C-SPAN Video of Inaugural Ceremony

Trail Mix Live Chat Transcript

President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.

My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. 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.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – 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.

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. 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. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. 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. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will 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. 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 forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

49 thoughts on “Our 44th President, Second Inaugural

  1. craig, is your burgoo a small version of the one below taken from the mad-cow.org page (which cautions folk not to eat the squirrel brains usually cooked in the stew)?

    Kentucky Burgoo (Serves 25)
    Makes 1200 gallons of stew; used for the Kentucky Derby Day celebration This recipe is from a very old southern cookbook entitled “322 Old Dixie Recipes”(1939)
    Squirrels -- 1 doz.to each 100 gals.
    600 lbs. lean soup meat (no fat, no bacon)
    200 lbs. fat hens, plucked
    2,000 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
    200 lbs. onion, peeled and diced
    5 bushels of cabbage, chopped
    60 lbs.of tomatoes, deskinned & chopped
    24 lbs. of tomatoes -- pureed
    24 lbs. of corn, cut from cob
    Red pepper and salt to taste and Worcestershire by the pint.
    Mix the ingredients, a little at a time and cook coutdoors in huge iron kettles over wood for 20 hour, stirring constantly.
    The name burgoo literally means a soup composed of many vegetables and meats delectably fused together in an enormous caldron, over which, at the exact moment, a rabbit’s foot at the end of a yarn string is properly waved by a black preacher whose salary has been paid to date. These are the good omens by which the burgoo is fortified.

    and don’t forget to wave that rabbit foot at the end

  2. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.

    cbob, the prez must have written this for you.
    one of the talking heads noted that this was a first time acknowledgement of our environmental problems for an inaugural address.

  3. It is a great day. Mr. Cracker and I are enjoying the parade and thinking it is a good thing.

    Certainly all the change I would prefer isn’t coming fast enough for me but it is coming

  4. The president has been doing so well as has his whole family. Good chemistry with Gen Odierno, that’s very reassuring. But, he really should get rid of the chewing gum.

  5. I’d like to associate myself with kgc’s remarks…am thoroughly enjoying this day, and hoping that the speed of change will accelerate! :grin:

  6. Dang, Joe Biden, may I have this dance? That’s one happy man.

    Meanwhile rumor has it that Paul Ryan was greeted with boos. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy (with the exceptions of Boehner and Cantor).

  7. Craig, did you wait until today to start you Kentucky Burgoo. I bet it would be better if all the ingredients had time to marry in the frig overnight.

  8. i am loath to celebrate due to the usual cast of pessimisms.

    I will tip a bud though with the pizza.

    Along with my ancient ritual pizza song. Only beatle song on the e.m. juke box when I got to E City.
    Except for the flip side, “Get Back”.

    Billy Preston was a wonderment.

  9. And Jack, it seems that you have a great regimen for controlling your diabetes. Every person with diabetes is different so you are your own experiment with how you respond to the disease. Your Doc is your paid consultant but you are the captain of your ship. The best tool you have to determine how everything effects you is your glucose monitor.

    I had this smart educated college student come see me once. He was an athlete and was recently diagnosed with a variant to type 1 diabetes. He required insulin. We worked as a team to manage his diabetes. On one of his breaks from college, he came to see me. He asked me about smoking pot and how it would effect his diabetes. I told him I didn’t know and couldn’t recommend it. I said that if he insisted on trying, he needed to do it in a safe environment with other people around, preferably not the cops. He needed to frequently monitor his blood sugar so he could determine for himself what affect it would have. Interesting that he attended college in Colorado but that was a while back.

  10. ct, i make a lot of it night before, but save some of the vegetables and other fixins for serving day to freshen it up. We’re sitting down to our Inaugural Burgoo right now, here’s how it’s lookin..

    [image=burgoo.jpg]

  11. Isn’t burgoo supposed to have ‘street snacks’ as a part of it… and if you don’t use traditional ingredients how do you get that traditional taste

  12. Craig, It is digusting what the VA. legislature did today… bit.ly/VgDNhZ
    Can your friend Mudcat bring any pressure to bear? This is not only BS, but immoral!

  13. Now let’s get to work: subsidize alternative & green energy sources through a dedicated Carbon Tax, end subsidies of Big Oil, start single payor health coverage, leave Afghanistan, put FICA tax on ALL income, remove the felony from marijuana and free the captives, and stop the school and theater massacres. All this would make the 2d term spectacular.

  14. I think this may be the only speech that I have heard Obama give where he is giving us his vision of America. I thought he was like bush senior, I didn’t think he could do the vision thing.

    Jack

  15. Carol
    Some good advise thanks. I believe I told my trainer the other day that they all may be experts on diabetes but I an expert on me so I need all the information they can give me so I can make this work for me.
    Besides that, I’m an information junkie, give me something new to look up and I’m happily googling away.

    Jack

  16. Just remember that everything on the Net is not always accurate or ligit. And what’s worse, everything from the pharm cos isn’t either.

  17. A pharm salesman told me that his company, one that made a diabetes drug, got FDA approval on a dose of a medication that was never proved to be efficacious. A higher dose of that med had no further efficacy yet it was more expensive. Docs prescribed that dose for years.

  18. Unbelievable. The VA senate adjourned in honor of Stonewall Jackson after pushing through that redistricting plan on this inauguration and MLK Day! McDonald hasn’t reviewed or signed it yet, but I think a major, public and very loud shaming is in order.

  19. The biggest problem that I have with most medical practitioners is that they try to force the patient into a treatment plan rather than creating one specifically designed to work with each patient’s individual needs and lifestyle. The former is less time consuming.

  20. Jamie… The saddest thing is that they did this while Sen. Marsh, 79 yr old civil rights activist, deciding vote, was in DC celebrating BO & MLK. Such perfidy.

  21. Jack,

    HAHAHAHA!

    Just cheerleading for a great 2d term. Gotta keep positive. Gotta keep pushing them, or they’ll start to think we voted for them ‘cuzza their beautiful voices.

  22. mtnherbal,

    Have dict cheney take the puguglican whips hunting. Afterwards, when the rest of the rippers are at the funeral, the Dems can rescind the redistricting vote.

  23. Jace,

    Thanks, I think I’ll join you.

    Speaking of which, I’ll have a hic cup of black rum to warm my giblets and toast your brilliant 8:08 Plan.

    I’d claim it, but I want it to succeed, and you are sooooo much more attractive than I am.

  24. XR,

    Thank you.

    If you are ever in the neighborhood, a bottle of Elmer T. Lee and a long visit await. ;-)

    jace

  25. In going over today’s ceremonies and festivities and pondering once again the election in November, I can only conclude that republican/conservatives lost because they deserved to lose.Seldom in life is justice that clear cut.

    Obama’s speech today highlighted what could be possible, if one party was in power and another party chose to act as a reasonable and necessary balance to over reach, rather than an obstacle to progress of any kind.

    Beginning four years ago, the republican party made the conscious decision to to thwart every attempt by this president to solve the problems facing this nation. Recent events would seem to indicate that republicans have learned nothing from their failures. A party that substitutes political pogrom for policy deserves to be on the outside looking in.

    Republican/conservatives should enjoy it, they have brought it on themselves.

  26. I had to learn bourbon from school mates. (blush)

    XR,

    I learned a lot things from my schoolmates, bourbon weren’t one of them. ;-) That came later.

  27. Republicans will not be happy with today’s inauguration. By and large, they hate joy and new beginnings. And, that’s a shame.

  28. Thanks for posting the script of Obama’s speech Craig. There were so many distractions when I was listening to it today on TV. I can easily get distracted. I’m thinking, he has nice skin, or his skin color is nice. I like his smile, he’s got a really big, nice smile. He’s using his hand motions like they say you should when making a speech. Who’s that standing around him? Lots of distractions. But I was listening and I liked what I heard but I didn’t hear it as good as I needed to hear it.

    I appreciated the speech even more when I got to read it with no distractions. I heard somewhere that he wrote that speech himself. I heard someone say that he has been spending lots of time alone working on that speech and I think it paid off.

  29. He’s got quite an ambitious agenda for the next four years but it all needs doing. He had something for everyone. He had something for us ladies. Glad he didn’t leave us out. He had something for the climate, something about needing some rules so those rich banksters don’t screw us, that we need to help take care of the vulnerable, education, immigration, that we can be true to the constitution but not try to live by laws exactly as they did in a time they were created, a time we can’t even recognize anymore. We must face the fact that things have changed.

    He stressed that we have to pull together and not apart if we want to accomplish anything. He stressed that over and over and it’s a fact. Our biggest problem is that we aren’t pulling together. The agenda of the opposing party has been to stand in the way. They would rather we all go down than allow Obama any success. That’s so crazy. He’s just the team leader. Don’t they realize that they can claim some of the same credit/success. If a team is successful it isn’t just the leader who should get the credit, it’s the entire team.

    Every class at school tomorrow ought to take that speech apart and study it. They need to understand what the mission is because we are all part of it, especially the young people. It’s really mandatory for them to be involved.

  30. I wasn’t that crazy about Obama from the start, mainly because I was suffering grief over Hillary. I voted for him because he was much better than the alternative.

    I wasn’t too pleased with his first four years. I felt like he sold us out but it’s the not entirely his fault. The game is rigged. If he wanted a second go round, he had to have support from many of the bad guys. Well, he doesn’t need that anymore but he needs a lot of support from us good guys. He’s a person who needs a lot of wind beneath his wings to accomplish good things. We need to do a lot of blowing just like what we’ve tried to do with this gun issue.

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