57th Inauguration: A vision of a United America
By Roger Caldwell
On Jan. 21, 2013, President Obama was sworn into a second term by Chief Justice Roberts. Even though this is the second time that an African American has gone through the process, it appears that it is a dream and I will wake up and find it never really happened. When I stop and reflect on the history of the Black experience in American, all I can say is “Thank you Lord.”
During a news conference President Obama spoke proudly of having taken the oath of office using a Bible that had been owned by Dr. King. “I had great privilege that the Bible we used was his Bible and they (Members of the family) asked to be inscribed, and the other Bible belonged to President Abraham Lincoln,” Obama said after the ceremony.
Civil rights activist and journalist Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers delivered the invocation. Fifty years ago the Black community was fighting and dying for their civil and human rights, and on Jan. 21, 2013, we are taking the oath to lead the country. I am not sure that our founding fathers believed that all people are created equal, but in 2008, the vision became a reality.
“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 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,” explains President Obama.
America is the melting pot of the world, and it represents freedom, liberty, and mutual respect for the citizens of our country. Many American citizens on the other side of the aisle believe that President Obama’s speech was too liberal and it takes our country down the wrong road. But many Americans do not understand the special struggle that Blacks endured to reach their level of achievement.
“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,” says Obama. There is no perfect union and our country has evolved through racism, civil war, political espionage, and violence, but our country has tried to live up to its creed.
President Obama delivered a forceful speech with bipartisanship overtones, and defended the nation’s safety net programs that make us stronger as a nation. He also vowed to expand gay rights and tackle the problems of climate change. President Obama emphasized that our possibilities are limitless, but our children must be kept safe from harm.
There are numerous problems in the country and this generation has a unique responsibility to improve the country and the world. “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,” says President Obama.
Many times Americans would rather complain about our problems and forget our priceless principles that guide our country. We tend to focus on the problems and forget to embrace and appreciate our democracy. As we celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama, all Americans must make a commitment to each other that we are strongly united, and our nation will succeed together.