By Amira Francis, Staff Writer
If I had to describe Barack Obama’s inauguration speech, one of the first words that comes to mind is: bold (right along with “liberal”). The president addressed many controversial issues in his speech on Monday, including themes such as climate change, gay rights, and immigration. I respect when a president takes more of a forceful stance on issues that he believes in, whatever they may be.
There may be a reason for this sudden forcefulness. There of course will be no re-election for Obama during the next presidential election because of the two-term limit. And – I say this with no judgment – it’s natural for a president to be very cautious of where he stands on some issues if he is angling to get re-elected. It’s the curse of the politician. So I have a feeling that we will start to see the president take stronger standpoints these next four years than the previous ones. His inauguration speech was a taste of that. It did not shy away from the controversial topics that are part of public discourse.
One of the most powerful lines of his speech on Monday might have been this one, addressing gay rights:
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” – President Obama
I’m sure many hearts soared when they heard the president deliver that line on Monday. I’m also sure there were many indignant cries from some conservative . Apparently, it was the first time a president has ever used the word “gay ” in an inaugural address. This reflects the very bold and progressive nature of his speech.
Another surprise was when the president addressed climate change –yet another controversial topic.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.” -President Obama
I was impressed by his very direct address of the heavily debated issue, especially because there are so many people who reject the notion that it even exists, making it a prime target for ridicule.
Obama also discussed immigration. He made it clear that he is pro-immigration – of course, not illegal immigration – and that he wants to welcome foreigners into America.
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.” – President Obama
The president addressed yet another interesting point: Equal pay for women, an issue that is often overlooked.
“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.” – President Obama
President Obama’s speech was a strong foreshadowing of what is to come. He aims his words at a younger America and, as a result, it seems likely that there will be change. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up for you to decide.