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Obama's inauguration speech

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Kireka1980, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Kireka1980

    Kireka1980 JF-Expert Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Joined: Mar 18, 2008
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    'Time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit'
    Text of Obama's speech for his inauguration as 44th President of the US
    WASHINGTON- My fellow 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. I thank President Bush
    for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has
    shown throughout this transition.
    Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been
    spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every
    so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these
    moments, Americahas carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in
    high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our
    forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

    So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
    That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war,
    against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly
    weakened, 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.
    Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too
    costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the
    ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
    These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable
    but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear
    that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its
    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 met.
    On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over
    conflict and discord.

    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
    We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set
    aside childish 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.
    In 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 short-cuts 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. 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.
    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.
    For us, they fought and died, in places like Concordand Gettysburg; Normandyand Khe
    Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their
    hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw Americaas bigger than
    the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or
    wealth or faction.

    This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful
    nation on Earth. 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. But our
    time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant
    decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up,
    dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
    For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for
    action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a
    new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids
    and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore
    science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's
    quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to
    fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges
    and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we
    will do.
    Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our
    system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have
    forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve
    when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
    What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them— 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 — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they
    can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to
    move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. 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.
    Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its
    power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has
    reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and
    that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of
    our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product,
    but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every
    willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our
    ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a
    charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the
    blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them
    up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are
    watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was
    born: know that Americais a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child
    who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

    Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with
    missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They
    understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as
    we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our
    security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the
    tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
    We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet
    those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and
    understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraqto its people,
    and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we
    will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a
    warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its
    defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and
    slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be
    broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

    For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a
    nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped
    by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we
    have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that
    dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old
    hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the
    world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must
    play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
    To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual
    respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their
    society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can
    build, not what you destroy. 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;
    but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
    To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms
    flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.
    And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer
    afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's
    resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change
    with it.

    As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude
    those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant
    mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in
    Arlingtonwhisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians
    of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find
    meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment
    that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us
    For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and
    determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the
    kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers
    who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us
    through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway
    filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally
    decides our fate.
    Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But
    those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and
    fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old.
    These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our
    history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us
    now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American,
    that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not
    grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is
    nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our
    all to a difficult task.

    This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
    This is the source of our confidence— the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an
    uncertain destiny.
    This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of
    every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and
    why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a
    local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

    So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have
    traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of
    patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was
    abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment
    when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation
    ordered these words be read to the people:
    "Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but
    hope and virtue could survive ... that the city and the country, alarmed at one
    common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

    America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us
    remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy
    currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children
    that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn
    back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us,
    we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future
    Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.