Obama's Second Inaugural Address - Annotated for the Real World

I could not stand to listen to the speech but I did read the transcript.  Here are some of my thoughts and questions as we move “Forward” into our decline as a nation.  Each section begins with a quote from the speech followed by my commentary.

THE PRESIDENT: 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.”

Mr. Obama has long proclaimed that the United States was not founded as a Christian nation or upon Christian principles.  He is historically and factually wrong.  The Founding Fathers were all Christians – even if some were Deists, which after all is a Christian heresy – and they drew upon an intellectual tradition dating back to the Protestant Reformation.  Although many of them interpreted that tradition through the Enlightenment, their thoughts and political theories came from the mainstream of Christian thought.  The newborn United States was swaddled in the basic tenets of the Christian faith and grew accordingly.  For more information, see Michael Novak’s On Two Wings:  Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding.  

Regardless of what Mr. Obama implies, the Founders were not atheists, Muslim, or any other religion.  Their view of a Creator who endowed its human creation with certain unalienable rights was a distinctly Christian concept.  Muslims do not believe in a personal creator who loves his creation and endows the individual with certain rights.  Their view of god leads to the caliph, the sword, and the loss of liberty – not to the dignity of man.  Atheists do not believe in the Christian God so they often make the state god.  Now, if the state is god, then what the state gives [rights], it can also take away.

The Creator mentioned in the Declaration of Independence was the Creator found in the Christian and Jewish Scriptures.  That is important.  If we change that “Creator” to someone or something else, then the whole foundation of our government shifts and we lose the meaning and practice of those “unalienable rights.”

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.) 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.

Freedom is not a gift from God.  If you think so, then please cite the Scripture – book, chapter, and verse.  The Founding Fathers chose the word “Liberty” very carefully.  Liberty was the ability [or freedom] to do what was right.  The Founders called the modern concept of “freedom” – licentiousness – the ability to do whatever one wanted.  They embraced liberty and rejected licentiousness as unworthy of a free people.  In fact, licentiousness, they argued, would lead to slavery.  Their view of liberty rested on solid Biblical grounds.  For more information, see Robert Middlekauff’s The Glorious Cause:  The American Revolution, 1763-1789.

As to the second part of the phrase, does man attempt to secure “freedom” without God?  What role does God play?  To what God is Mr. Obama employing?  Does the Muslim god really grant freedom?  How about the Hindu?  What about the poor atheist who has no god to bestow “freedom”?  Freedom from what exactly?

And 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, these are constants in our character.

Which of “society’s ills” does Mr. Obama believe cannot be cured through government alone?  Or, is Mr. Obama saying that government must be involved in all areas but that solving these ills will require the citizenry to fall in line?

As to the last line, I have no idea what he means.  Does Mr. Obama mean to imply that “our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility” constrain our character?  Would our character be better without these constraints?

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. (Applause.)

Shorthand:  The Second Amendment is outdated and as a collective we must move “Forward.”

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. (Applause.) An economic recovery has begun. (Applause.) 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. (Applause.)

Shorthand:  Open borders.

The praise of “youth” is also troubling.  What about age and wisdom?  What about the experience of those who have went before?  Are the older generations to be shunted aside and eventually eliminated by Obamacare?  Do the seniors of our society have nothing more to contribute?  Here, Mr. Obama betrays the leftist, 1960s, Hollywood fascination with youth.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. (Applause.) 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.

If people find “independence” and “pride” in their work, then why did the Obama Administration remove the work requirement from welfare?  Why does Mr. Obama advance programs that encourage and enable sloth?

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. So 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, 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.

Which federal programs does Mr. Obama propose to cut?

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.

What technology?  Which nations?  On a side note, someone contact Theodore Roosevelt and tell him we found his conservation speech.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. (Applause.) Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. (Applause.) 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.

How do we turn the “terrorist” into our surest friends?  We never turned the Nazis into our surest friends.  We defeated the Nazi and made the German people our friends but it took decades and it only happened after we totally defeated them.

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. (Applause.)

How many laws has the Obama administration broken?  Budget deadline?  FOIA requests?  Fast and Furious?  501(c)4 stipulations?  Campaign finance laws?  etc.  Talk about leading from behind.  He has no credibility on this issue.  He has made a mockery of the rule of law.  We have moved from LEX REX [the law is king] to REX LEX [the king is law].

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.

Mr. Obama forgot to mention a couple of exceptions.  We will be the anchor of strong alliances – unless you are Poland, which he has promised to the Soviets Russians.  Mr. Obama will also support democracy unless you live in Iran and want to overthrow your oppressive government.  A government whose view of a Creator is very different than the one our Founding Fathers looked toward.  Their creator not only allows but promotes the brutality from which their people want to rebel.

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. (Applause.)

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.

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. (Applause.)

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.

Except at the White House where we mostly hire white men.  Or, in the federal bureaucracy where women are underpaid compared to men.  Mr. Obama controls both.

Mr. Obama wants to make the truth “that all of us are created equal” into our guiding star.  In doing so, he makes the question of the Creator very important.

(Applause.) Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. (Applause.) 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 — (applause) — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. (Applause.) 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 last I checked, the marriage laws that apply to them also apply to me.


I will spare you the rest.  The complete transcript can be found at www.whitehouse.gov.

Mr. Obama’s Second Inaugural Address reveals several things.  First, he considers us not a nation of individuals but a collective.  Second, he is willing to distort history and his own record to advance his agenda.  In short, he is a liar and does not feel bound by reality.  Third, he is willing to rewrite the tenets of Christianity and to even speak for God.  We are not dealing here with just another politician.  Being the “loyal opposition” will not be enough to stop a demagogue.  We can yield no more ground.  We have to fight him in every arena if we hope to survive as the country we once were.  If the GOP will not lead, then the American people must.  We can no longer wait on the hapless GOP establishment.  Reagan advanced conservatism as a private citizen long before he entered politics.  We must do the same.