We must go beyond mere words

Jan. 22, 2013 @ 04:05 PM

Taking a page out of the playbook of his detractors, President Barack Obama used words from history to usher into a second term in office.

Monday, Obama used phrases like “We, the people,” and citations from the Constitution and Declaration of Independence to defend a first term bogged in the mire of politics while attempting to enter into a second term with more vigor and fight.

His inaugural speech focused on developing equality for all. This included women, gays and lesbians, the right to vote, immigrants, and public safety for all.

It was a speech where the President suggested moving past the partisan and toward the action to developing that equality.

“Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness,” he said. “Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time.”

It was a speech that was anchored on a key word: action.

That has been something that was seemingly missing from his first four years in office.

Even with sweeping health care legislation that, to this day, is still under threat of partisan gamesmanship, Obama seemed to succumb more to a lack of action.

However, Monday, the President provided some hope that acting on the betterment of our country will be at the forefront of his second term.

“For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect,” he said. “We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and 40 years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.”

He seemed ready to move past the traditional Washington politics that have plagued this nation for years.

The fact of the matter is that a speech is just that ... a speech.

What we believe is that actions tell the story. While Obama may have delivered his second inauguration speech with conviction and a tone of resolve, the proof will be in the pudding.

It is the action taken that gives us hope. We have spent far too long listening to the words of our elected officials and not seeing that action ... or that hope.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark