For the majority of those who followed the two year long process of nominations, campaigns and the election, the highlight may well have been the eighteen minutes and ten seconds that it took President Obama to deliver his Inaugural speech.
There has been no shortage of analysis and accolades for President Obama’s message. His words stirred a nation, and the world. President Obama clearly articulated vision, challenge, responsibility and commitment. His demeanour and words have achieved more in two years of campaigning then all the conflicts the world has endured during the same period.
Everyone will have their own favourite passages. The following are portions of President Obama’s speech that I found thought provoking and relevant to our situation here at Six Nations of the Grand River:
· “a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age”
· “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics”
· “…our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time is passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking…”
· “- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply”
· “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works”. This could read: The question is not whether our government is traditional or elected, but whether it works.
· “And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government”
· “a nation cannot prosper long when it favours only the prosperous”
· “power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please”
· “we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass”
· “the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve”
· “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history”
· ‘know that your people will judge you by what you can build, not what you destroy”
· “…there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task”
Obama has drawn upon the visions and words that came from the turbulent times of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. We are involved in our own turbulent times. We need to find hopeful words and responsible words that will move us beyond impasses to desired progress and resolve.
The majority of our citizens have great hope for Six Nations of the Grand River – they also know it will require a tremendous investment. The majority of our citizen know: we need to make changes in the way we treat and regard ourselves; we must be the example of how we want the rest of the world to see us and relate to us; we must encourage our technologically savvy younger to embrace the highest standard of civic responsibility – they are our hope
As President Obama states, “This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny”. Our most precious gift to our future generations will be our example of the “Good Minds” and the power of “Good Words”. In this, we will be “giving our all to a difficult task”.
David M. General
January 25, 2009
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