The headline is a quote from this week’s reinauguration address of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.
Taking the oath of office for the second time using Bibles of both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. on a federal holiday set aside to honor the latter, we found the president’s remarks to be both poignant and stirring. Soaring oratory is not unusual for this president or this event and he did not disappoint.
Much of his text paid homage to those that made this country what it is today. If we hear it only at these types of events every four years, we should be reminded of the essential premise brought forth by the framers of the Declaration of Independence: “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.” That is a huge statement and no doubt those that wrote it had no idea how it would be interpreted in the modern age, but it continues to be an ideal worth living and fighting for. All of what our country is and does is filtered through the prism of that statement’s meaning.
Although presidential elections are quadrennial events, we are told by the pundits that this president realistically has only about 12 to 18 months to govern effectively. After that, any legislative actions will be postponed because the turmoil of the next election cycle will be throttling up. We find this to be particularly disheartening. It seems that the political game has overtaken the very reasons for its existence. We note that repeatedly nothing seems to get accomplished. Stonewalling and obstructionism seem to be the approved course. Recent attempts at having a dialogue on gun control with Aurora and Newtown still very close in the rear view mirror is one example. The president’s proposed solutions of an assault weapons ban, a limit on the size of ammunition clips and universal background checks are a common sense beginning.
There is much to be done and it can be accomplished with willing and effective leadership. Health care, the deficit, social programs, climate change and environment, peace initiatives—they all need work. The president stated, “Our journey is not complete,” on any of these. There has to be a realization that while the debate process is healthy, universal agreement on all issues is virtually impossible. The job for this president and this Congress is to understand, “Progress does not compel us to settle centuries long debates for all time, but does require us to act is our time.”
Well said, sir!
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.