President Obama renewed his oath of office and delivered his inauguration speech Monday morning. We all know how easy it is to get lost in the jargon of political speeches, so here's the best and worst quotes of the speech in one easy list.
“The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”
I like this because, for once, Obama is being honest in that the government can't accomplish everything. This is a good way of avoiding the alleged false promises that he is so famous for, but at the same time pushing legislation that he cares about.
"History tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they are not self-executing."
This is such a simple thing to say, but it's still necessary because it tells people what Obama wants his administration to be. Instead of being a passive institution, Obama presents a government that works actively to give people the basic rights they deserve.
“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.”
This quote worked well because Obama is able to take away differences in social class. Whether you make $100,000 or $30,000, you can relate to what he's saying. A huge goal of an inaugural address is to bring the country together, and this quote definitely accomplishes that.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”
Critics are calling this inaugural address the most liberal speech Obama has delivered yet, and statements like this are why. This isn’t about whether you support gay rights or not – simply by addressing it, Obama starts off his term by pissing off the GOP. Bipartisanship was a huge problem in his last term, and having such a liberal standpoint from the beginning will only intensify the tension between Republicans and Democrats.
“Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune.”
This is just too vague and idealistic of a phrase to be effective in an inaugural address. In theory, the quote sounds great, but it’s not what the American people need to hear. Rather than saying that the government will support those in need, Obama should craft policy that delivers this support or simply refrain from making these sweeping statements about government.
“We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher.”
Finally, Obama is able to get specific with what he wants, which is great. However, he fails to address how he will achieve all of these things and in what manner he plans to “revamp” or “reform.” This is what leads to people complaining of empty promises, and Obama would be better off avoiding statements like this.