Obama calls for unity, equality

2013-01-21 22:20
(Justin Sullivan, AFP)

(Justin Sullivan, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - President Barack Obama issued an impassioned call for national unity and equality on Monday, warning political "absolutism" must not thwart change and renewal, as he was inaugurated for a second term.

Obama was publicly sworn in for another four White House years before a crowd of hundreds of thousands on Washington's National Mall, and delivered an inaugural address steeped in poetic power and broad hints of his new agenda.

The 44th president repeatedly used the "We the People" preamble to the US Constitution to suggest how to reconcile America's founding truths and the current discord and dysfunction of its embittered political system.

"For now, decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay," Obama said.

"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," Obama declared.

Obama's speech was noticeably liberal - calling for protection for the weak, the poor and those lacking health care and obliquely including a call for gay rights and protection against gun crime for children.

"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," Obama said.

"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.

"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."

The president also said that American security did not require "perpetual war" and promised to base US  global leadership on dialogue, firm alliances but not to cede the threat of the use of force.

"We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law," Obama said.

"We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully - not because we are nave about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear."

And Obama also vowed the meet the threat of global warming, despite scepticism on climate change from some Republican foes, and political barriers to taking serious action.

Swearing in

Obama earlier raised his right hand and rested his left on Bibles once owned by Martin Luther King jnr and Abraham Lincoln, on an outdoor platform set on the West Front of the US Capitol building and below its elegant white dome.

"I Barack Hussein Obama ..." the 44th president said, vowing to faithfully execute his office and to "preserve, protect and defend the constitution", led in the oath of office by black-robed Chief Justice John Roberts.

The president was earlier announced with a peal of trumpets and walked down the steps from the iconic building to a huge cheers of "Obama, Obama" from a vast crowd stretching into the distance down the National Mall below.

Obama, his smile beaming wide, appeared more relaxed than at his first inauguration four years ago, when he took office as an untested and inexperienced leader as an economic depression threatened.

The president, the first African American to hold the office, launched his second term with a private swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, before basking in the full pomp of his office with public celebrations on Monday.

Supporters

Bundled-up Obama supporters had trekked into town to join snaking lines for Secret Service checkpoints guarding a steel-fenced secure zone around the White House and the inaugural parade route.

Armoured military vehicles and parked buses blocked major roads, as part of a security vice that included air and river exclusion zones, road closures and a heavy presence of police and National Guard reserve troops.

Though the mood was festive, as revellers crammed into coffee shops and subway trains heading downtown, Obama's second inauguration lacked the sense of historic promise and hope that greeted his first term in 2009.

Dignitaries, including former Democratic presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, took their seats on a platform at the West Front of the Capitol.

One Obama supporter, the Reverend Ruddie Mingo, 54, donated time and money to the president's winning campaign against Republican Mitt Romney, and said inaugural festivities were less mobbed than four years ago.

"My hope is that his next four years we can get more stuff accomplished on both sides," he said.

Returning to office

Obama's political brand has been damaged by an exhausting first term battling the worst economic storm in decades and brutal partisan warfare with his Republican rivals, notably over taxes and spending.

When he returns to politics, Obama, 51, has a legacy to defend, including a historic health care law and a retrenchment from draining wars abroad, and he is vowing to make good on the promise of a fairer economy.

Obama took the oath for a first time on Sunday in a private ceremony at the White House because the constitution states that US presidential terms end at noon on 20 January.

When that date falls on a Sunday, there is a private swearing-in ceremony before public celebrations and a second oath taking the next day.

Poignantly, Obama took his second term oath of office on the federal holiday marking civil rights pioneer King's birthday.

In another historic echo, Obama was the second president to be sworn in four times - thanks to the Roberts stumble in 2009 and his double oath duty this year, joining Democratic icon Franklin Roosevelt.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
15 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Jesselyn
This invention makes farts smell like chocolate!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The Moon has moved into your sign, emphasizing the need to connect things to work together. There is a tendency to focus too far...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.