Today, at noon ET, entire world stopped for a while and took a moment to watch Barack Hussein Obama take oath as the president of United States. A truly historic moment! Without doubt, he is the master of rhetoric and his today’s speech will certainly go in the list of his iconic speeches – measured, mature, realistic and with balanced optimism.
There is a reason why this man attracts so much of attention. He is not just smart and intelligent, he is also humble, sensible and willing to listen.
To me, some of the gems from his today’s speech were,
“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.”
It was noteworthy that he thought it’s necessary to include non-believers along with bunch of other religions – indeed, a true reflection of inclusive secular values.
“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.”
A very clear remark on American habits of over-consumption. Yes, that has to change. He knows that and is willing to admit that.
“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.”
It was very appropriate for him to credit his victory to liberal values of America. He is not the president just because of the black voters who obviously voted him, but more so because of the white voters who went beyond the divisive ideas of racial supremacy and voted him on merit. It was the victory of meritocracy and liberal value system.
It may be too much to expect him to pull a miracle and change things overnight. But at least he is willing to admit that America’s balance sheet is full of crap right now and some serious action is necessary.
The task at hand is extremely difficult. But if anybody could do anything, ‘that one’ is the one.
(Transcripts of the speech are available here)