As Washington gears up for President Barack Obama's second inaugural address, public opinion polls show that Americans have much lower expectations for Obama's second term than they did four years ago for his first term. The soaring rhetoric of the 2008 campaign and Obama's first inaugural address might have contributed to those inflated expectations. So, as a public service before his second term begins, we here at Foreign Policy thought it would be a good idea to revisit an abridged version of Obama's first inaugural address and, in light of his first term, revise the text just a wee bit to reflect a more realistic era. Enjoy!
citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust
you have bestowed, mindful of
the sacrifices borne by our ancestors the implacable opposition I am about to encounter.
President Bush for
his service to our nation as well as the generosity and
cooperation he has shown throughout this transition setting the bar super-low so that simple policy competence will make me
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be barely met in piecemeal fashion as we lurch from self-imposed crisis to crisis.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear until someone tries to bomb a plane with explosives in their underpants, unity of purpose over conflict and discord until someone tries to build a mosque near Ground Zero.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. We will replace them with much larger recriminations, grander conspiracy theories, and even more stale dogma.
We remain a
young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside
childish things and go straight for the truly infantile
things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our
better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on
from generation to generation: the God-given promise that
all are equal, all
are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness
our elected officials will continue to honor your
quixotic, unsustainable preferences of lower taxes and more government
reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never
a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts except for lame-duck sessions
or settling for less.
It has not
been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or
seek only the pleasures of riches and fame compromise
over sheer bloody-mindedness.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom. But let's be clear about individual greatness -- you didn't build that.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. And let me assure you that my administration will deport anyone who does try to come to this country unannounced and work hard.
the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth, no
matter what the Pew Global Attitudes project says in their polling. Our
workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no
less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week
or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. Our deficits will remain unparalleled for years to come.
But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off
unpleasant decisions -- that
time has surely passed sounds like what will continue to happen for the near future.