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Inaugural Speech: Informed Not Inflamed React

by John on 01/23/2013


The reaction to Obama’s second inaugural was widespread.

The New York Times called it clearly Progressive.  Right-wing pundits said Obama showed us what they had always feared.

Even the more sober, and who I describe as evenly analytical, had a loud reaction.  David Ignatius, the foreign policy columnist for the Washington Post, was unimpressed calling it “pedestrian.”

Do you want to know what I think?  Seriously, you shouldn’t care.

What’s important is how you saw it.

Read it or watch it.

Clearly, this was an historical moment whether you like Obama or not.

Some bigger take-ways.

  • Most historic speeches don’t get an immediate response as historic.  Journalism is the first draft of history.  We witness what is happening now and most of us can’t predict the future.  A good example was Ike’s speech, upon leaving the White House, that warned against the military-industrial complex.
  • Obama hit the trends over-taking us now: the connection between the new job market, the effect of technology and emerging markets, and the need for massive education and re-training of American workers; the need for immigration reform to grow our economy; pay and wealth inequality; and women and gay rights.
  • He didn’t dwell on the ensuing fiscal entitlement bomb enough.  I am imagining – and hoping — that will come in the State of the Union.

These final two points are really all about math.  People from both sides of the political divide can spout their ideology all they want. But the numbers don’t lie.  The nation is becoming less white and more brown and yellow.  But our national debt is gradually heading upwards while forcing our economy downhill with an unsustainable weight.

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