New Orleans I didn’t listen to President Obama’s 2nd inaugural speech. I’m just sick to death of hearing him talk, talk, talk all of the time talking. But, I read the speech, and I’m heartened. Finally, this is a President for me at least right now, this minute, who is saying he is sick of hearing himself talk, too, and is ready for action. From the very beginning when he says, “…we are made for this moment…” he seems to finally understand the full weight of the opportunity and burden.
We are fragile, time dated vessels of flesh and bone, heart and soul, moving every day closer to dirt and at greater distance from the sun. Finally, Barack Obama the man and the President may understand that this is also true for him, and if so, this is a relief that could offer resurgence for the country and our people. This is finally not about the dreams, but about the doing. Risks have to be taken. Deals have to be made. Chips have to fall. Waves have to be made. Lines have to be drawn and defended.
This clear call for action, and its grace notes of King’s “urgency of now” and of “Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall” are more than the sky high rhetoric just made for speeches, but are the very substance of struggle, and Obama saying this has to finally mean that he understands this. In this speech there finally seems to be an understanding not simply of the gift having been the opportunity to be there and to have the opportunity, but a recognition that the true blessing is in the opportunity not simply to stand for something and to be a symbol, but to have been enlisted as a warrior with a prominent place in the battles of our times.
The fights are many and there is comfort for people like me to hear that they finally include engaging poverty, immigration rights, love and marriage, women’s rights, comfort for the sick and elderly, security, and the environment. Where have you been, Barack Obama? Are we finally going to find out what truly moves you and engages your passion? Are we finally going to meet the real Barack Obama?
The Wall Street Journal got the picture, too, “…he sounded less like a man preparing for lofty flights, and a lot more like a man preparing for ground battle. His rhetoric was less about soaring above Washington’s political system and more about conquering it, one small and hard-fought step at a time if necessary.” Amen!
It is show time and finally Obama is ready for action.