The Second Inaugural Address

Winter                                                                      Cold Moon

Read the text of Obama’s second inaugural address today.  I’m a words guy, that should be clear by now for those who read this.  Words matter.  Yes, actions matter, too, but I’ve never been a fan of what I consider the false dichotomy between thought and action.  Acting and thinking, words and deeds, run together in life, preceding the other, and effecting the other in turn.

This is an important speech and it seems, from what I’ve read, that Republicans caught its importance more than the Democrats.  This is an unabashed hymn to the America I love.  The one where the founding documents inspire us to move towards more inclusion, a broader and deeper sweep of justice and to embrace the collective as well as the individual.

Like words and deeds, the individual and the collective are not in opposition, rather they are in dynamic tension.  When the creative work of the people is done, it helps the collective, but it does that by helping individuals.  Freedom is not a zero sum game.  As I gain more and more freedom, you don’t lose yours, your freedom grows along with mine.  We both test the limits of our individual destinies and in so doing increase the available free space for all.  Individual action breeds collective health and collective health breeds individual freedom.

An inaugural address is not policy, or executive order or legislation or federal rule, but neither was the Declaration of Independence.  It was a call to a fractured people, join together and together we will become more than a colony.  This second inaugural underscores the common action that has traditionally made us strong and renews the call of the Declaration.  I’m proud to have a President who speaks these words.

About time.

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