Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day: Post 8

Humbled. Mindful. Thanks President Bush for his service to the nation.

44 Americans have now taken the presidential oath. Riding tides and still waters. Every so often, gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, carried on not just because of skill and vision but because we the people have remained faithful to the vision of our forebearers.

So it must be with this generation of Americans. Homes lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Each day brings further evidence that the ways we bring energy threaten our adversaries and brings our planet closer to crisis.

Nagging fear that Americas fear is inevitable. Lower its sights. The challenges we face are real. They will not be met easily. They will be met. We gather because we have chosen hope over fear. Worn-out dogmas. Strangled our politics. We remain a young nation, but the time has come to set aside childish things. Carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea. The God-given idea that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their measure of happiness.

Greatness must be earned. Not a journey of shortcuts or for the fainthearted. It has been the risktakers, the do-ers, the makers of things. Carried up the long rugged path toward prosperity and freedom. For us, they toiled in sweat shops and settled the west. For us, they fought and died. Time and again, these men and women struggled and worked until their hands were raw.

We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on earth. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, protecting narrow interests has surely passed. Must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America.

Everywhere we look there is work to be done. Foundation for growth. Restore science to its rightful place. Harness the sun and winds. Meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do, all this we will do. Some suggest our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what our country has already done. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them.

The question we ask today is whether our government works. Held to account to spend wisely, end bad habits, do business in the light of day. Without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. Cannot favor only the prosperous. The reach of our prosperity, extend to every willing heart. Surest route to our common good.

Reject the choice between our safety and our ideals. Assure the rule of law and the rights of man. We will not give up those ideals. We are ready to lead once more. Earlier generations faced down fascism and communism, not just with missiles and tanks. Our power grows through its prudent use. We are the keepers of this legacy.

We will not apologize for our way of life. Those who seek to use terror, we say our spirit is stronger. We will defeat you. We know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are shaped by every language and culture. Because we have tasted the bitter swell of civil war and segregation, we cannot help but believe the old hatreds shall pass. To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward. To the people of poor nations, we will work alongside you. We can no longer afford indifference to those outside our borders. The world has changed, and we must change with it.

A willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. It is this spirit that must inhabit us all. It is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people on which our nation relies. Those values upon which our success depends on are old. What is demanded is a return to these truths. A new era of responsibility. Duties we seize gladly. Nothing so satisfying to the spirit than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and promise of citizenship. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed.

Remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled. America in the face of our common dangers, let us remember these timeless words. Brave once more the icy currents. Let it be said that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end. Eyes fixed on the horizon, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it to future generations.

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