By Craig Robinson
President Obama’s second inaugural address was full of beautiful words, and it was impeccably delivered. President Obama will no doubt go down in the annals of history as one of the great modern-day orators. Yet, when you look beyond the flawless delivery and the soaring rhetoric and examine the statements and claims that the President made in his speech, the address is far less beautiful. In fact, it makes me wonder if I’m living in the same county that President Obama is presiding over.
I found the following paragraph to be the most troubling. It was located near the end of his speech. You can read the entire transcript by clicking here.
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.
Let’s break that down.
“For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”
Maybe it’s because I live in the middle of America, but I have never had a woman come up to me and complain that they are not given a fair shake in America. In fact, my life has been shaped by a number of successful women who either took interest in me as a child growing up, or who I was fortunate enough to work for or along side during my life journey.
My mother is not what you would call a career woman. She has worked as a substitute school cook, worked at the local hardware store, and currently the delightful person you meet when you purchase gas or something to eat or drink at the gas station in my hometown of Goose Lake. She works hard and loves serving her community. Yet my Mom’s success is not defined by the size of her paycheck or the type of car that she drives. She measures her success through her family. In that regard, my Mother would claim that she’s been extremely successful.
From the time I was 12 or 13, my Dad would take my brother and I to work with him on Saturdays and any other day school wasn’t in session. My Dad was a diesel mechanic for a local livestock trucking company. While my brother was tasked with scooping out and washing trucks, I spent my time in the office (lucky me). A former nurse held the reins of the trucking company and operated that business. The buck stopped with her, and she was the boss.
Maybe I’m just lucky, but the woman I met in college and went on to marry is smarter than I am, more educated than I am, and much, much better looking than I am. She also makes more money than I do, and deservingly so. I’m not saying that there are not people in this county who are being held back for one reason or another, but I think we are at a point in this nation where one’s gender is no longer a barrier to their success.
I also find it odd that for as much as President Obama hyped up the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 in his re-election campaign, his second inaugural address indicates be believes that women in America are still not treated equally.
“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.”
I’m not going to go into a full fledged debate on gay marriage in this article, but I found it odd that the above quote was shortly followed by, “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.”
What more ancient value is there besides the institution of marriage?
“Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”
Democrats around the country are outraged whenever a Republican attempts to enforce the voting laws that are already are on the books, or when they want to verify a person’s identity by requiring people to show a photo ID before they vote. Meanwhile, President Obama wants to speed up the process of voting. This statement combined with the Democrats opposition to safe and secure voting is downright disturbing.
“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.”
First, most Republicans are not opposed to allowing educated students to remain in the county after completing college or advanced training. Second, our porous boarders have created the immigration problem in America. President Obama should join Republicans in securing the boarders because he would find bipartisan support in reforming the legal immigration process in America.
“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.”
This is a thinly veiled reference to the gun control debate that is raging across the county. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want children to be cared for, cherished, and safe, unless, of course, that child happens to reside in the womb of a woman who happens not to want a child.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
This was not in the paragraph highlighted above, but it did jump out at me during his speech. This seems to suggest more regulation and more taxation. Cap and Trade anyone?
What about jobs?
Jobs and the economy are still the top issues for Americans, but the President only mentioned the word “job”, or “jobs”, three times in his speech.
The first was in reference to how important government is in building roads, networks, and research labs. The second reference actually referred to job loss as a reason why we must maintain entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The third reference to jobs was included in his remarks about the need to fight climate change.
Mr. President, that is not the inspiration that Americans were looking for in regards to jobs and the economy.
One would think that after extensively campaigning across America twice, the President would have a good read on America. Unfortunately, where many Americans see progress and equality, President Obama sees a great divide. Maybe instead of focusing on advancing liberal policies such as climate change, expanded voting rights, and class warfare, the President could unite us all by helping America get back to work.
Too bad he doesn’t seem interested in that.
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