President Obama calls for remaking of US

20 January 2009 17:22  [Source: ICIS news]

President-elect Obama and President Bush at swearing-inWASHINGTON (ICIS news)--President Barack Obama on Tuesday called on US citizens to join him in remaking America to overcome challenges posed by two wars, an economy in decline, and shortages in health care and energy.

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America,” Obama said in his inauguration speech.

Speaking on the steps of the US Capitol after taking the oath of office as the nation’s 44th chief executive, Obama recounted the challenges facing the country and described “a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights”.

Those challenges will not be overcome easily or quickly, Obama said.

“But know this, America - they will be met,” he said.

“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,” he said.

“We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together,” he said, adding:  “We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”

He endorsed the concept of a free market but suggested that government has a role in monitoring and checking excesses. “Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill,” he said. 

“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 favours only the prosperous.”

He called for greater understanding and cooperation among nations. “We can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations.”

“We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to 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 spectre of a warming planet."

“Our challenges may be new,” Obama told an estimated 3m people gathered on The Mall in Washington.  “But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old, these things are true.”

“What is demanded 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.”

He said those responsibilities are “the price and the promise of citizenship”.

In closing, Obama quoted the first US president, George Washington, who as the general leading American colonial rebel forces seemingly on the verge of defeat in 1777, said:  “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.”

“In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words,” Obama said.

“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 he horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

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By: Joe Kamalick
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