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PD Editorial: Promising words to start second term

  • President Barack Obama delivering his second inaugural address (TONI L. SANDYS / Washington Post)

“We are made for this moment ... so long as we seize it together.” — President Barack Obama, second inaugural address

Four years ago, as Barack Obama took the oath of office, the economic world was collapsing all around him. On Monday, he began a second term in a more stabilized economy but amid a political environment — and nation — paralyzed by deep ideological divisions.

His response was to offer an eloquent inaugural address that laid out an ambitious legislative agenda and sent a strong message — that despite the stalemate, he is not going to waste his renewed voter mandate. And he is ready to fight to see more accomplished in Washington.

“For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay,” he said. “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act ...”

He stood in defense of entitlement programs, saying “the commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

He made a strong push for more action in confronting climate change, noting that “the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

“Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science,” he said, “but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.”

He called for immigration reform, saying the nation needs to find “a better way” to welcome immigrants and to ensure “bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.”

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