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President Obama Calls For Strengthening The Middle Class In Inaugural Address: Will You Stand With Him?

"My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together." -- President Barack Obama, Jan. 21, 2013

The following is the full text of President Barack Obama's Jan. 21, 2013 inaugural address as prepared for delivery:

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“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 have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. 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. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. 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. 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.

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. 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 is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped 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.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

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.

Let 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.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

 


Carl Petersen III February 23, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Arthur Spooner 23 minutes ago "I think they need to get 5 minimum wage jobs to pay for their own way!" . . Someone needs $36.25 an hour to support themselves?
Arthur Spooner February 23, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Carl LOL How would they possibly make that much per hour?? They cant work all 5 jobs at the same time and they certainly cannot work full time at each of them. The point is , I dont care how much they make as long as they are off my teat!!
Arthur Spooner February 23, 2013 at 10:12 PM
I know a lot of people that make more than that per hour and yes they do need it! They are not on the teat either!
Arthur Spooner February 25, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Is it just me or are the majority of the states with the higher unemployment rates ran by democrats? I say MAJORITY copy and paste boy! http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/labor/2012-state-unemployment-rates.aspx
Carl Petersen III February 25, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Long Time Local 1 hour ago "What do we do with all the Grandpa's and Dad's hanging out @ Home Depot's and all around towns across the USA give them more SNAP funds or ACA Pills? Carl, do all your great numbers include them and their children and Grandchildren? NOT, Open Your Eyes !" . . Do you post just to prove your xenophobia?
Arthur Spooner February 25, 2013 at 05:36 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/gibbs-drones-obama-talk-fight-club-174044860--politics.html
Arthur Spooner February 26, 2013 at 03:00 PM
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2013/02/23/forbes-lists-americas-20-most-miserable-cities-guess-what-vast-majority-
Arthur Spooner February 26, 2013 at 03:02 PM
The problem with liberals is that they think raising taxes will fix everything. They start program after program and it still does not fix a thing. They need to learn to stop rewarding bad behavior.
Carl Petersen III February 26, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Arthur Spooner 10:15 am on Monday, February 25, 2013 "Is it just me" . . Yes.
Carl Petersen III February 26, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Long Time Local 12:38 pm on Monday, February 25, 2013 "Don't appreciate people who steal from others" . . You don't think that the ones who usually get stolen from are the undocumented workers themselves?
Carl Petersen III February 26, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Arthur Spooner 51 minutes ago "The problem with liberals is that they think raising taxes will fix everything." . . You can't even recognize that Obama spent his first term lowering taxes.
Komfort February 26, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Attention Elsinore and Wildomar, here is a Blog that Jac is hiding from you: "Whatever it takes, we the Republicans pledge to bring down the government before we will adopt or compromise on any of the President’s plans to help the economy in the next four years..." http://lamesa.patch.com/d/blog_posts/we-the-republicans-of-the-united-states
Arthur Spooner March 03, 2013 at 07:29 PM
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/341589/gao-report-obamacare-adds-62-trillion-long-term-deficit-andrew-stiles cant blame Bush for that, but I am sure you will find a way
Arthur Spooner March 03, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Which taxes were those Carl??? Do tell......
Arthur Spooner March 03, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Prove it
Carl Petersen III March 05, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Arthur Spooner 9:55 am on Monday, March 4, 2013 "Which taxes were those Carl??? Do tell......" . . You would think that if you were going to post as much as you do, you would already have these facts: From http://www.republicansforobama.org/firstterm "Tax Cuts In February, 2009, Obama signed the American Recovery and Investment Act, which included $288 billion in tax cuts, arguably the largest tax cuts in American history. These cuts included a payroll tax credit of $400 per worker and $800 per married couple in 2009 and 2010, and an extension of revisions in the Alternative Minimum Tax, which saved middle-class Americans $70 billion. Additionally, the legislation included over $30 billion in tax cuts for American businesses. In December, 2010, President Obama signed a $858 tax cut bill into law, after almost equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans voted in support of the legislation. The package extended tax cuts signed by President Bush, cut payroll taxes by 2% for a year, and extended unemployment benefits for 13 months. Of the tax cuts, Obama stated, “I know there are different aspects of this plan to which members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, object. That's the nature of compromise. But we worked hard to negotiate an agreement that's a win for middle-class families and a win for our economy." (continued...)
Carl Petersen III March 05, 2013 at 02:58 PM
From http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2012/10/07/president-obama-won-significant-tax-cuts-during-his-first-term-but-voters-mostly-unaware-benefits/psf33Vy87XC9OgRX1oj8JN/story.html "President Obama, on a recent campaign trip through the crucial swing state of Virginia, recited an assertion he made again during Wednesday’s debate: that he has cut taxes for the typical American family by $3,600. That is news to many voters — among them Don Woodson, a landscaper loading cases of soda into the back of a sport utility vehicle outside Costco last week. “Where’s that at?’’ he scoffed. “We haven’t had any of that.’’ In fact, Woodson and his wife, Christine — parents of five children — most likely have shared in some of that tax cut. They just don’t realize it."
Carl Petersen III March 05, 2013 at 03:06 PM
From http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/o/barack_obama/index.html "He keeps a list and argues that he has fulfilled most of his core promises. He pulled the country back from the economic abyss, rescued the auto industry, killed the world’s top terrorist, withdrew troops from Iraq, imposed regulations on Wall Street, put two liberal justices on the Supreme Court, signed a nuclear treaty with Russia and cut taxes for the middle class."
Carl Petersen III March 05, 2013 at 03:13 PM
From http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/the-one-good-thing-that-happened-during-obamas-first-term/ "In one of his weekend radio addresses in August 2011, the president proposed extending the temporary Social Security payroll tax cut: “There are things we can do right now that will mean more customers for businesses and more jobs across the country. We can cut payroll taxes again, so families have an extra $1,000 to spend.” It came as something of a surprise that Republicans weren’t too enthusiastic about the idea." "Although the working poor generally don’t pay any federal income tax, they do pay Social Security tax on every penny of their wages. The Social Security tax is a regressive tax that harms those least able to “afford” it because wages are taxed only up to the Social Security wage base, currently $113,700. Thus, higher-income persons pay a much smaller percentage of their income to the government in the form of Social Security taxes. Nevertheless, the 2 percent rate reduction in the Social Security tax was a benefit to all Americans who earn an income — and especially the working poor — because it allowed them to keep that much more of their money in their pockets and out of the hands of the federal government. Two percentage points is a significant rate cut when the rate is 6.2 percent. And that was the only time in history that the Social Security tax rate had decreased."
Arthur Spooner March 05, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Carl, I am not dummy. I know that those tax cuts have expired. How are my taxes lower TODAY??????????????????????
Arthur Spooner March 05, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Carl you may want to lay off the kool aid a bit.
Arthur Spooner March 05, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Still waiting....................
Carl Petersen III March 05, 2013 at 03:30 PM
From http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/07/10/everything-obama-has-done-and-wants-to-do-on-taxes-in-one-post/ "Stimulus Of the stimulus bill, $289.6 billion or 36 percent, was devoted to tax cuts, of which the biggest by far was the Making Work Pay tax credit, which was a refundable tax credit of $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples filing jointly implemented by reducing tax withholding. That structure meant that a fair number of people didn’t even notice their taxes were being cut, even though the credit cost a total of $116.2 billion. The next biggest provision was a $69.8 billion extension to a patch to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which primarily benefited upper-middle income filers. After that came $20 billion in tax credits to promote renewable energy, a $14.8 billion increase in the refundability of the child tax credit, and the $13.9 billion “American Opportunity” tax credit for low-income college students. All other tax provisions, which were mostly changes to existing credits and deductions (such as an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit), were less than $10 billion a piece."
Arthur Spooner March 05, 2013 at 03:33 PM
No I think he spent his first term campaigning and golfing. Where were you?
Steve March 07, 2013 at 01:35 AM
I just received this in an email, i'm not sharing the entire email but some may find this interesting and can conduct further research if needed. In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obama's qualifications for the presidency, the group "Americans for Freedom of Information" has Released copies of President Obama's college transcripts from Occidental College… Released today, the transcript school indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obama's detractors have been seeking. Along with the evidence that he was first born in Kenya and there is no record of him ever applying for US citizenship, this is looking pretty grim. There was more to his article.
Arthur Spooner March 07, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Steve I read that also. Either way it make him a liar. He was either lying to his universities or he is lying to us. He cant have it both ways. What a POS!
Carl Petersen III March 07, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Steve 12:05 am on Thursday, March 7, 2013 "I just received this in an email, i'm not sharing the entire email but some may find this interesting and can conduct further research if needed. In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obama's qualifications for the presidency, the group "Americans for Freedom of Information" has Released copies of President Obama's college transcripts from Occidental College… Released today, the transcript school indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obama's detractors have been seeking. Along with the evidence that he was first born in Kenya and there is no record of him ever applying for US citizenship, this is looking pretty grim. There was more to his article." . . All you would have had to do was Google the article and you would have found out that it has been circulating for quite a while... http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/occidental.asp
Carl Petersen III March 07, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Arthur Spooner 59 minutes ago "Steve I read that also. Either way it make him a liar. He was either lying to his universities or he is lying to us. He cant have it both ways. What a POS!" . . Or it just makes you gullible!
Arthur Spooner March 07, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Must be hard to walk with your head down there all the time.
Arthur Spooner March 07, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Because snopes is aways accurate! Doh!

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