Breaking Down the Inaugural Address: Obama on Civil Rights

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began, for our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to theirefforts.

Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to oneanother must be equal, as well.

Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.

Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students andengineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.

Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.That is our generation’s task, to make these works, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.

A laundry list carefully calibrated to to the tastes of some coveted voter blocs to be sure. But how does the GOP respond without sounding small?

  1. Douglas

    “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law”

    They are. But don’t let that stop us from elevating a vice into a civil rights movement.

  2. publius 49

    Without sounding small? Is this an echo of Norma Desmond – only the GOP politicians got small? The GOP needs a vigorous, unafraid, clever rhetorician like – who? Christie? Rubio? Ryan? We shall see. As Bill Buckley said, baloney fears the grinder, but we do need a grinder.

  3. Larry3435
    Redneck Desi: Our journey is not complete until the average American is paying 50% in taxes · 9 hours ago

    Hmmm, I thought it was when the average American pays no taxes, and the most productive Americans pay 99%

  4. Joseph Eagar

    We could say, “Mr. President, if you mean what you say, do something about it”.  Highlight his weakness.  Other than that, I don’t think America has become any more tolerant of liberal special interest politics than it ever has, and I stand by my prediction that Obama’s coalition will crumble within a year or two.

  5. Joseph Eagar
    Douglas: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law”

    They are. But don’t let that stop us from elevating a vice into a civil rights movement. · 39 minutes ago

    That whole line was strange.  Equality under the law for non-heterosexuals isn’t perfect, but it isn’t as dire as he implies, either.  What worries me is the next sentence, that God created the ability of each human to love equally.  That’s such a far left thing to say, it goes right off the charts.

  6. DrewInWisconsin

    Obama-to-English translation:

    Our journey is complete when we have gay marriage, internet voting, open borders, and no guns.

  7. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    We should ignore this drivel and point out that none of this is worth anything if there are no jobs for these people, and we should remind the American people that this President has not met with his Jobs Council in more than a year.

  8. Redneck Desi

    Our journey is not complete until the average American is paying 50% in taxes

  9. DrewInWisconsin
    Joseph Eagar

    Douglas: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law”

    They are. But don’t let that stop us from elevating a vice into a civil rights movement.

    That whole line was strange.  Equality under the law for non-heterosexuals isn’t perfect, but it isn’t as dire as he implies, either.  What worries me is the next sentence, that God created the ability of each human to love equally.  That’s such a far left thing to say, it goes right off the charts.

    Well, the strangeness of it comes from the suggestion that love — not marriage or civil unions, but love itself — requires legislation. “For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.”

    Of course, it’s just more meaningless words strung together because they sound good.

  10. Leslie Watkins

    A decade of war is now ending. Absolutely breath-taking. Perhaps pride will go before even his fall.

  11. Joseph Eagar
    DrewInWisconsin

    Well, the strangeness of it comes from the suggestion that love — not marriage or civil unions, but love itself– requires legislation. “For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.”

    Of course, it’s just more meaningless words strung together because they sound good. · 10 minutes ago

    That’s a good point; that was weird. 

  12. Rocket City Dave

    From this moment on Obama is the past. Ignore him.

    His speeches are irrelevant. When we speak we ought to endeavor to not mention the President even to criticize him.

    We’re better off forgetting about him and focusing on substance.

    As far as equality I’m worried about the millions of children raised without fathers in unstable homes with diminished prospects in life. What about their unequal station in life?

    Instead our silly culture is obsessed with whether two men or two women get to play house with government approval.

    I suspect the next marriage controversy will be whether individuals can marry computer programs that mimic human intelligence. That sounds like the weird sort of non-issue that the liberal cultural elites will drum up in the 2020′s.

  13. cdor

    We can not help the weak if we are not strong. That is the simple truth. Every day this country is getting weaker with our tremendous debt. If we do not reverse this trend, everyone will suffer.

  14. Capt. Spaulding

    The front page of The New York Times amounts to a coronation keepsake. It’s little wonder that the low-attention citizenry can’t see through the posing when the media are complicit cheerleaders. One of the headlines: “Inaugural Stresses Theme of Civil and Gay Rights — Safety Net Praised.” Yes, those sets of rights are separate and distinct. Next up, undocumented immigrant rights. Or perhaps adolescent rights?

  15. Douglas
    Paul A. Rahe: We should ignore this drivel and point out that none of this is worth anything if there are no jobs for these people, and we should remind the American people that this President has not met with his Jobs Council in more than a year. · 54 minutes ago

    I fear that, like FDR, this man is a kind of messiah to more Americans than not, and they simply won’t care. I think he could defecate on the Wailing Wall, and Jews would vote for him. I think he could limit Asian immigration, and Asians would vote for him. I think could place sanctions on Mexico for it’s “backwards” Catholic beliefs, and Hispanics… yes, Mexicans included… would vote for him. I think the economy will continue to stink and skip along the bottom, and whites from the coasts will still vote for him.

    We have a cult of personality president. Again.

  16. Malcolm Robertson

    “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”

    Obama forbid that sacred right take longer to exercise than listening to one of his speeches.

  17. Scott R

    His legislative agenda is for “all” our children to “always” be safe from harm? And we thought his healthcare law had lots of pages.

  18. Mark Lewis

    An interesting analysis of strawman arguments President Obama’s second inaugural speech. Would that we interpreted every political speech with similar rigor.

  19. Scott R
    Paul A. Rahe: We should ignore this drivel and point out that none of this is worth anything if there are no jobs for these people, and we should remind the American people that this President has not met with his Jobs Council in more than a year. · 1 hour ago

    “I promise jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!”  — Governor You-know-who  :-)

    [Edit: Which is to say, wasn't the Romney campaign roundly criticized here for supposedly taking exactly this non-ideological, it's-all-about-the-jobs approach?]

  20. Casey

    I haven’t had a chance to hear the speech yet but this snippet is embarrassing. Particularly so given that so many of us spent some time today having our souls lifted by the great Dr King.

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