President Obama’s Inaugural Address
From the beginning of his campaign, I have hoped Barack Obama would make it to this day. One of the biggest reasons I have supported him was that — far more than any other prominent presidential candidate — he emphasized committment to social justice on a global scale.
As I hoped, President Obama included strong — and beautiful — words on this subject in his inaugural address. Here, from my perspective, is one of the highlights of the speech:
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.
And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
I also loved this passage (which almost echoes the speech by Robert F. Kennedy that I quoted some time ago):
The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
(I could have lived without that last part — what’s wrong with doing good “out of charity”? — but I get that he kind of had to say that to make the point he wanted to make to the people he wanted to convince. Anyway, it’s true: the common good is surely, surely, surely not served when a society “favors only the prosperous.”)
Today is such an — I hate to repeat absolutely everyone else commenting on today, but — historic day. I wish I’d seen some coverage of reactions around the world (especially Barack Obama’s father’s hometown, which was beautiful to see on election night). The world is a crazy place, but I am happy tonight, and I pray that all the good that is being hoped can come to be so.