Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama’s Inaugural Address

President Barack H. Obama was already well regarded as a public speaker (at least when his teleprompter works properly), but his inaugural address was certainly as masterful a speech as we have seen in recent decades. One passage near the middle of his address caught my attention immediately. It cut right to the heart of the American experience and the struggle for human freedom.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that 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.

As a confirmed cynic, I have to wonder if the President and his Congress will abide by these words. Given their collective political histories, that would be quite remarkable. For now, though, I’ll hope for change and accept the new President’s words on their face.