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Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama

by Todd A. Smith

President Obama Proves America Can Overcome Trying Times

 

            Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration represents the best and worst of times for American people.  In a time filled with hope and optimism, after a country with a turbulent racial past inaugurated its first African American president, the mood became more somber immediately following President Obama taking the oath of office.

            The new president took the podium and spoke frankly about the dark days the country is experiencing, but also spoke about the hope that inspired many Americans to go to the polls for the first time in an attempt to change the direction for our great nation.  At the presidential inauguration, the 44th president admitted that the challenges we currently face, during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression will be a daunting challenge, but promised that America will rise up and meet that challenge head-on.

            “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood,” Obama said in Tuesday’s presidential inauguration.  “Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.  Our economy is badly weakened … Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered … Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real.  They are serious and they are many.  They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.  But know this, America—they will be met.”

            History has shown that the challenges that America currently face are very similar to the severe challenges that many generations of the past have faced.  And history has also shown us that those challenges have always been met, and we’ve always become a better nation as a result.

            In a country, where citizens of African descent were not even considered full human beings let alone citizens, numerous Americans of all colors fought and even gave their life so our country could “live out the true meaning of its creed, that all men are created equal,” like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached at the March on Washington in 1963.  The fight that they waged culminated at the January 20th presidential inauguration of Obama.

            In a country that experienced economic travesty during the Great Depression, a president by the name of Franklin D. Roosevelt offered a New Deal that created a new jobs and a new way of life that we still benefit from in 2009.

            As Obama stated in his presidential inauguration, Americans have overcome much more trying times than what we currently face and we have always risen to the occasion and become a much stronger nation in the process.  A country that can overcome the bigotry of slavery and segregation to elect an African American president can most certainly overcome the challenges that we face today.  Furthermore, a country that overcame a depression can certainly overcome a recession.

            The hope and pride that Americans felt in electing President Obama has to be the same hope that carries us through these difficult days.  In his presidential inauguration speech, Obama stated, “there are some who question the scale of our ambition—who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.  Their memories are short.  For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.”

            Americans showed what the result of that courage can look like at the 2009 presidential inauguration.  And if a country can overcome its own past mistakes to elect an African American as Commander-in-Chief, it can most certainly overcome any other obstacle that is placed in its path.

Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men's Magazine.

This article was published on Thursday 22 January, 2009.
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