While listening to the above speech, I was struck by several things viewed in the context of a long debate and discussion with my good friend dunkelza
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.
and the big on
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.
We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all. For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.
Our challenges may be new The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
What I hear in those words is a call to action... a call saying, we can no longer wait for others to give what we think we deserve, but to struggle and build and hope and help each other reach that which we all deserve.
We must be the ones who build this great future, not sit back and attempt to reap it.
I also wanted to add to the post a comparison and an observation that I was reminded of by all thing an extended scene from a movie last night but these words:
We must act upon the motto of all for each and each for all. There must be ever present in our minds the fundamental truth that in a republic such as ours the only safety is to stand neither for nor against any man because he is rich or because he is poor, because he is engaged in one occupation or another, because he works with his brains or because he works with his hands. We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less.
The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us.
I do not on the surface see why I should link those above quotes from Theodore Roosevelt and feel that the spirit of them seemed to come through President Obama's speech today. They say different things yet still come down to we must all help each other for all of us to prosper... gone are the days where we can blindly ignore each others suffering and gone also are the days where we trust others even the government to take care of our fellow man we must be the ones to help them.
Its a call that has echoed through history through the voices of many presidents and many men, from jfk's
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love...
to the words above of Roosevelt and the words of President Obama. These men democrat and republican both know and acknowledge something that our generation has forgotten... it is not the strange intangible 'government's job to take care of the poor, the sick, the unfortunate, but OURs 'we the people' who make up the government whether we be in public office or just private citizens in the wrong place at the right time. We must all be the good samaratan of christian lore. This belief is what has made our country strong throughout history, and that is what i feel echoed in the words of today's speech by our new president.