2013-01-23 / Opinion

‘We the people’ need to step up for collective good


President Barack Obama’s first Inaugural Address offered vision for a way out of the depth of an economic crisis and two foreign wars. His second, on Monday, revealed less of his specific plans for the next four years but more of his political philosophy.

Repeating the phrase “we the people,” the president tried to appeal to our better nature.

Time will be the judge of whether the good nature prevails, but we remain forever optimistic that if “we the people” seek and demand an America that works for all us, no matter if Democrat or Republican, then it can happen. Our differences will continue, but we must treat one another with respect and dignity.

To our point: In Lapeer County, Republican Mitt Romney in November defeated President Obama 23,725 to 18,786. But yet Obama by a decisive majority won the national election and Monday began his second term as president of our United States. While clearly many Lapeer County residents and many across the country had misgivings about Obama the fact remains he is our president and we owe him and the seat of the presidency the respect they deserve.

Whether you voted for him or not, Monday was an important and special day for Obama and the nation as we go forward to tackle very complicated issues in the coming weeks and months. We wish Obama success in his second term, because we want the country to succeed in working for the values, hopes and aspirations of the people of our community and across this nation.

Delivered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in his inauguration speech he argued for a progressive view of government, founded on history and his own conviction that American prosperity and the preservation of freedom depend on collective action. In the coming days, there will be no let up of political sniping over the debt ceiling, gun control, national security and tax policies.

In his speech Obama said that the nation must come together to meet the challenges of the day, saying: “We are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together.”

He continued... “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, 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.

...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.

...We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.

...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.

...My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today (Monday), 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.”

As speeches go, Monday’s may not be remembered as the most stirring or oratorical inaugural speech. But it was a president sharing with the nation his values most personal and vision most spiritual.

Coming off a contentious general election and the most recent fiscal cliff scuffle, we were pleased to hear the president talk about “we” in a collective sense and hope for the sake of the country that all Americans, no matter their political affiliation, will be included and heard in the president’s second term.

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