The Party Line
9:49 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Round 2: Obama Strikes Different Tone

Michael Bitzer
Michael Bitzer

Just four years ago, with the depths of the economic recession dominating his ascension to the nation’s highest office, President Obama’s address was fairly solemn and somber, reflecting the uncertainties of the time.

Not realizing what the country was facing, he spoke a kind of plain truth that urged his fellow citizens 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.”

He also noted that with his taking office, Obama sought to “proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

And yet for his first term, the recriminations were thick throughout. Knowing that the 2012 election would be the affirmation or denial of his philosophy of governance, Obama sought to claim the victory by solidifying his own sense of the American creed.

And with his re-election, Obama crafted a much more aggressive approach to create his own vision and future legacy. His second inaugural speech was one that was much more optimistic in tone, while at the same time launching a clear sense of an unapologetic progressive spirit.

On Monday, he identified his understanding of the immortal first three words of the governing document, “We the People.” 

Those three words encapsulate the unique tension within the American political philosophy: The force and preeminence of individualism against the necessity and strength of communitarianism.  Along with our national motto, “From many, one,” the varying spectrum of political thought underlying the premise of our nation is what all presidents seek to shape and guide.  

From what President Obama presented, the meaning of “E Pluribus Unum” is still up for debate and discussion - and that continues the long and varied tradition of what our nation means. 

He sought to connect policies on climate change and equality into the founding ideals and principles to the American ideal.

Obama delivered a clear sense of a progressive approach that he envisions the country moving toward, one that recognizes the nation’s growing diversification, but always based on the concept that a “nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American, that is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.”

The President’s second inaugural address heralds a more idealistic tone to his second term in office.  And while the recent second terms have been mired in controversies (Reagan’s Iran-Contra Affair, Clinton’s impeachment, Bush’s Hurricane Katrina and Iraq), Obama’s vision gives a more ambitious endeavor in progressivism than many commentators were expecting. 

He seems to recognize that America is indeed evolving into the 21st Century.  Yet, the president harkened the sense of what the nation has been since 1776, and that will be the true test of how history judges his time in office.

Much was discussed about what would be in President Obama’s second inaugural address, and how, in the span of history, it would compare to the most famous second address, given in a time of war by Abraham Lincoln. 

Just four years ago, with the depths of the economic recession dominating his ascension to the nation’s highest office, Obama’s address was fairly solemn and somber, reflecting the uncertainties of the time.

Not realizing what the country was facing, he spoke a kind of plain truth that urged his fellow citizens 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.”

He also noted that with his taking office, Obama sought to “proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

And yet for his first term, the recriminations were thick throughout. Knowing that the 2012 election would be the affirmation or denial of his philosophy of governance, Obama sought to claim the victory by solidifying his own sense of the American creed.

And with his re-election, Obama crafted a much more aggressive approach to create his own vision and future legacy. His second inaugural speech was one that was much more optimistic in tone, while at the same time launching a clear sense of an unapologetic progressive spirit.

In President Obama’s second address, he identified his understanding of the immortal first three words of the governing document, “We the People.” 

Those three words encapsulate the unique tension within the American political philosophy: The force and preeminence of individualism against the necessity and strength of communitarianism.  Along with our national motto, “From many, one,” the varying spectrum of political thought underlying the premise of our nation is what all presidents seek to shape and guide.  

From what President Obama presented, the meaning of “E Pluribus Unum” is still up for debate and discussion - and that continues the long and varied tradition of what our nation means. 

He sought to connect policies on climate change and equality into the founding ideals and principles to the American ideal.

Obama delivered a clear sense of a progressive approach that he envisions the country moving toward, one that recognizes the nation’s growing diversification, but always based on the concept that a “nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American, that is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.”

The President’s second inaugural address heralds a more idealistic tone to his second term in office.  And while the recent second terms have been mired in controversies (Reagan’s Iran-Contra Affair, Clinton’s impeachment, Bush’s Hurricane Katrina and Iraq), Obama’s vision gives a more ambitious endeavor in progressivism than many commentators were expecting. 

He seems to recognize that America is indeed evolving into the 21st Century.  Yet, the president harkened the sense of what the nation has been since 1776, and that will be the true test of how history judges his time in office.

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