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Monday, January 21, 2013

A Patriotic and Progressive Inauguration Address

"American opportunities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that the world without boundaries demands, the youth, the drive, diversity and openness, of endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention."  President Barack Obama, inauguration address January 21, 2013.

My favorite lines from today's 2nd inauguration address by President Obama focused on what it means to be a patriotic and inclusive society. 

What is Patriotism?  "...our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity..." President Obama

Although Republicans claim "God and Country" as a patriotic logo, their political party created an extremist agenda opposing immigration, universal coverage for health care, cuts to social programs like Medicare and Social Security (even though Americans contribute to these plans) and income re-distribution.

This is what President Obama said about "God and Country" Patriotism: 

"My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, (but) not party."

Moreover, Republican patriotism also includes support for national security supported by generous allocations for defense spending. 

On the other hand, Democrats claim patriotism as "One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All", creating a Progressive foundation for the politics of inclusion. Democrats see patriotism as being, pro-immigration, supporting universal health care including Medicare and Medicaid, and income re-distribution by taxing the rich and super rich at a rate higher than the middle class. Democrats are supportive of investments in national security, but not by providing back door subsidies to rich defense contractors at the expense of cuts to safety net social programs.  

President Obama said this about Progressive American Patriotism:  

"We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work, when the wages of honest labor will liberate families from the brink of hardship."

"We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own."
"A nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American, that is what this moment requires." 
"We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit."

"For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative."

"We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."

"Being true to our founding (patriotic) documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness."

"Progress does not compel us to settle century’s long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time."

"But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream.  My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas."

President Barack H. Obama gave a long awaited Progressive Patriotic inauguration speech today. 

For this blogger who watched on black and white TV while President John F. Kennedy spoke about "passing the torch" to a new generation, today's inauguration speech invoked this image as a progressive moment. President Kennedy's "torch" metaphor is now a beacon for those who believe in patriotism as meaning inclusiveness, compassion and support for citizens to live freely in our land of opportunity.

Congratulations to Progressive Patriots- President Barack H. Obama and Vice-President Joseph Biden.  

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