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REDISCOVER myth-breaking and hero-making

obama-taking-his-oathInspiring,  yet a biting reality check best describes the inaugural address of the 44th and the first African-American US president, Barack Hussein Obama.

Stripped of promises filled by statistics and set timetables (as what we often hear from our recent presidents, and the current president’s annual State of the Nation Address), Obama’s address was filled with uplifting yet succintly, describing concisely:

On what America was and what it has become now. “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,” Obama details.

On what America must do now. “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….

What is required now of us 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.”

On how he, as in-charge, will remake America.“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

On the question the American nation should be asking now. “The question we ask today is 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.”

On stating America is a friend to all. “Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.”

On winning the war against terrorism. “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 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 that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you….

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.”

Obama’s ascension to what is touted as the highest seat of global power is a culmination of a hero made during the grueling, and at times, dirtied campaign trail. He assumes the reign at at time when the US leadership was deemed at its lowest, with the former president leaving two unfinished wars, and an economic and a financial crisis.

Yet Obama is a hero not only to the Americans – of mixed religious affiliations, non-affiliations, and various mix of races – he is a hero to those who believe that myth no longer applies, yet created a new hero out of Obama to soothe the ailing times.

It is frightening how we made Obama as he is now – yes, partly, we made Obama larger than life. We made him (us Filipinos included, who have a rich yet tainted and lasting history and enduring influence with the Americans since 1898),  we made Obama real for us who are non-Americans; Obama is our constructed reality, we learned and created him as the hero we need in this trying times, as how mainly the US media, and eventually the global media, pictured him for us.

Still, he is playing his part as the “hero” we need – yes, we, not only Americans, but us included, the whole wide world – let us hope he, with his able people, deliver what there is to be fulfilled.

And if he fails, or delivers half-baked, let us learn not to blame him alone (like how we always blame our leaders and quick to point fingers when something goes wrong) – for we should all be doing our share to make this world livable for us.

As Obama puts it, “for the world has changed, and we must change with it.”

(Photo fromWikipedia.)

For full transcript of Obama’s inaugural address, click here.

For video, click here.

For photos of Obama’s inauguration, click here.

Please also visit Descovrir. Thank you.


Written by Lynda C. Corpuz

January 21, 2009 at 2:24 pm

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