President Barack Obama took the oath of office for his second term on January 21st before a crowd of hundreds of thousands. The President urged the nation to set an unwavering course toward prosperity and freedom for all its citizens and to protect the social safety net that has sheltered the poor, elderly and needy. During his remarks, President Obama said:
Our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class.
The President told the huge crowd that a decade of war is ending, as is the economic recession that consumed much of his first term. He previewed an ambitious second-term agenda, which I was glad to see included addressing the threat of global climate change. He correctly said that failure to confront that critical issue “would betray our children and future generations.” I have never understood how smart men and women in Congress could fail to understand the severe consequences of not dealing with this most serious problem.
President Obama was correct when he said our nation has a commitment to critically important programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. I don’t believe Congress can afford to play political games with these programs. I hope members of the House and Senate will put aside the partisan gridlock of the past four years and get down to work. The President and Congress must focus on creating jobs and improving the nation’s economy. It’s certain that these items will be top priorities for President Obama. The President implored Washington to find common ground over his next four years in office. Seeking to build on the public support that elected him to the White House twice, the President observed during his remarks:
The public has the obligation to shape the debates of our time. Not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.
Just prior to saying this, Obama had placed his hand on two Bibles — one used by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the other used by Abraham Lincoln — and recited the oath of office. Michelle Obama held the Bibles, one on top of the other, as daughters Malia and Sasha looked on. Vice President Joe Biden was also sworn in for his second term as the nation’s second in command.
There is much to be done during the President’s second term. There can be no doubt that the American people deserved better from a divided Congress than they got over the past four years. Over the next four years we can’t afford for Congress to ignore the many serious problems facing our nation and its people. Clearly, the President must lead and offer specific programs that will deal with these problems. Hopefully, his programs will include job creation, improving education at every level, working on climate change issues, reasonable gun control measures, immigration reform and cutting government waste. Congress must get down to work, consider the President’s programs, make any needed changes, and then pass the legislation needed to solve our nation’s problems. My hope and prayer is that the next four years will be the best ever for America.
Source: Associated Press
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