Obama sets a liberal/progressive tone…

Felt rather self-conscious when one of my brothers asked me what I thought of the inaugural or more specifically President Obama’s speech . I had not watched it and had only read the headlines over the past day or so. Been real busy with the real job.

But I got on the computer and watched and listened to the whole thing through the magic of You Tube.

It was rhetoric but good rhetoric. And really that is what an inaugural speech is all about, pure rhetoric. It is meant to set a tone.

And the tone was good.

It seems as if Mr. Obama may be ready to cash in on some of his accumulated political capital via his resounding victory in winning a second term.

Sorry conservatives and listeners to Rush Limburger Cheese, but the nation has turned somewhat liberal/progressive. And that may well be the result of hard economic times and the reality of what can happen when everyone is left on his or her own. Actually only folks around the age of my mom (she’s 102) really know what that means. She was a young housewife when the Great Depression began.

The President said that “preserving individual freedom requires collective action”. So freedom in his estimation does not mean I have my guns and I can hold you off as long as my ammunition holds out. I was kind of paraphrasing a liberal commentator there.

I think the president meant that government does have to take steps to protect the minority from the majority at times.

And this sounds promising: he said that “a decade of war has now ended”. Now you could read and interpret that in many ways, but I took it to mean that a stage of perpetual war is no longer going to be our policy as had seemed to have been the case under Bush/Cheney. He did say we will continue to protect ourselves.

For the benefit of all the climate change disbelievers and the rest of  us who wonder why people have such a hard time with reality and science (and yes, no one knows all the facts on this), he said: “we will respond the threat of climate change.” I think a lot of reactionary right-wing people think that just means the liberals want everyone to drive around in a tiny car.

And after kind of muted or ambiguous support of gay marriage in his first term, the president came out solidly for it.

(I’m sure that was tough for him and simple politics ruled. For me it is a tough one because it deals with tradition and morals and even practicalities. But there seems to be a realization that homosexuality is a born trait and not some kind of learned bad behavior. While I had thought and continue to wonder if civil unions for homosexuals could not suffice, it seems that such would be just a version of the legally abolished separate but equal doctrine.)

The president also called for equal pay for women (hard to believe that it is still an issue).

And finally, he addressed the reality of gun danger by saying that we have to protect our children on the streets of Detroit (the urban ghetto) and Newtown, Conn. (white suburbs).

One line I particularly liked was:

“Being true to our founding doctrines does not require us to agree on every contour of life.”

While I personally prefer fairly close attention to original meaning in interpreting the constitution I am always uneasy with people who claim to be able to decipher with ease and certainty the meaning of words and phrases that sound confusing and somewhat complex and sometimes even down right ambiguous to the rest of us at times.  I’m talking about those who claim to be following the “literal” meaning of the Holy Bible and those who follow just exactly what is written down in the constitution.

I did not cover every word of the speech, but I hit most of the high points I think.

It was rhetoric, but as I said before, good rhetoric, I think.


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