The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

History’s next chapter:

The inauguration of Barack Obama

President Barack Obama called the nation to begin to work towards reaffirming “our enduring spirit” in a speech given after he took the Oath of Office yesterday.

Obama also encouraged the nation to “choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

Millions of people gathered on the National Mall to witness the historic inauguration of Obama as the 44th president, braving the cold and wind for hours.

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America,” he said. “For everywhere we look, there is work to be done… All this we can do. And all this we will do.”

The peaceful transition of power became official at noon EST, the time at which the 12th Amendment states the new president takes office, even if he has yet to take the Oath of Office. Because the ceremony was running late, Obama became President before he took the oath.

“Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath,” Obama said. “The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.”

Obama continued his speech saying that at these moments “America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.”

“So it has been,” he said. “So it must be with this generation of Americans.”

Obama outlined the many troubles facing the nation involving war, the economy, home foreclosures, job losses, business closings, education, and energy.

“These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics,” he said. “Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.”

Although he said the challenges are serious and many, they will be met.

“They will not be met easily or in a short span of time,” he said. “But know this, America – they will be met.”

Obama said it was because “we remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.”

“Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began,” he said. “Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.”

“But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed.”

Addressing critics of the big plans of his administration, Obama said, “their memories are short.”

“For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage,” he said. “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.”

In his speech, Obama spoke to the leaders and citizens of countries from around the world, saying, “America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.”

In contrast, Obama defied “those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents,” saying the United States will not waiver in its defense.

“We say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you,” he said. “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

Obama said a “new era of responsibility” is required–“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.”

Above all, Obama called on the nation to “brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.

“Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations,” he said.

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