As Obama Embarks on Second Term, Heralds Citizens’ Obligations
“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. (Applause.) Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.
The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”
But for me, the best part was when he talked about citizens’ obligations and duties. Obama opened with a call to action; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. (Applause.)
“You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. (Applause.)
Let us, each of us, now embrace with solemn duty and awesome joy what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.”
We’ve seen how government can be co-opted by special interests and money and that process aided by a media focused on infotainment. Democracy isn’t perfect or easy. And above all, democracy isn’t a spectator sport. We, in the collective sense, get the government we choose by both voting, our action and our inaction.
For this day, I’ll agree with President Obama and say, “you and I as citizen’s have the power to set this country’s course.”
Where can you start?
350.org is sponsoring a demonstration on Feb 17th in Washington DC. If 20,000 people show up, that will certainly get noticed. Click here to join 350.org in DC: act.350.org/signup/presidentsday
Join the Citizens Climate Lobby. They have an introductory call every Wednesday, 5 PM PST/ 8PM EST at 1-866-642-1665. The pass code is 440699# .