Welcome The New Era Of Responsibility! And Accountability…

 

President Barack Obama’s inaugural pageant was quite something, wasn’t it?  The long-awaited official [peaceful] turnover of the reins of government occurred at precisely 12:00 noon, and President George W. Bush, #43 was now a former chief executive officer and commander-in-chief.  President Barack Obama is now #44.  His inaugural speech was closely watched by everyone, everywhere, it seems to us.

 

Thousands of television, radio and Internet channels carried his words live to far distant corners of the world, including the village in Kenya where his father lived and some of his family now live. But the key audience was here in the United States – he was speaking to American legislators, judges, regulators, social advocates and activists, ordinary citizens, bankers, business owners, corporate executives, corporate board members, heads of social agencies, tens of millions of children watching from school settings, chattering media pundits, journalists, immigrants with legal status and otherwise, and many more of us.

 

We asked this week in a prior column

 

(From January 18 — What shall we call this [era]?  We had the Square Deal for the Common Man (Teddy Roosevelt), and our grandparents welcomed the New Deal in the depths of the Great Depression (Franklin Roosevelt) and cheered the New Frontier of John Kennedy and the Best and the Brightest (of his generation).  Lyndon Johnson brought us the Great Society (at least for a while) and Ronald Reagan brought us Morning in America.  The outgoing George W. Bush promised Compassionate Conservatism.)

 

Now we have our answer:  Welcome to the New Era of Responsibility!  And as we see things through our prism, the Age of Accountability – as in personal and collective and institutional accountability to ourselves, to others and to the common good.

 

We will be parsing the president’s words and phrases and the context of many of his remarks in the days and weeks ahead.  Especially so as he issues executive orders, send draft legislation to Capitol Hill, instructs cabinet members on policy, and creates policy on critical issues, in his wonderful style of consensus building, grants media interviews and conducts press briefings. What does he mean – what does he want? What does he want us to do?

 

For now, let’s savor the words that launched this most remarkable of presidencies, with all of its important historical hinge points and “first times ever that…” references that we will hear over and over again.

 

As he challenged us to service to the nation —

 

Challenges [that the nation faces]…know this, American, they will be met.

 

Whether we face gathering clouds or raging storms (reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s or Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s.)

 

Our enduring spirit…

 

Greatness must be earned (over and over again, as a people and a nation)

 

We must set out to do the work of remaking America…

 

All are equal, all are free, all are deserving of equal opportunity…

 

It’s not the size of government, but what it does…(It’s not whether government is too big or too small but whether it works…)

 

The ground has shifted beneath us…

 

[Speaking of government] We will be held to account…and must be transparent…

 

American ideals must once again excite the rest of the world…

 

We extend our hand [to foreign leaders] if you will unclench your first…

 

There must be fair plan…embody a spirit of service…be selfless…

 

[On responsibility…accountability] this is the price and promise of citizenship…

 

# # #

 

The above is what we heard extemporaneously today as we listened to words, phrases, and context.  This is a serious man – we will now await his actions. After all – January 21st is Day Two – when the real work begins.  Good luck, Mr. President, and to Vice President Joe Biden…and to all of us in the United States of America … … and the nations of the world.  Stay Tuned!

 

###

 

You can read the exact words on line, on the White House Web site, or in the dailies on Wednesday, of course. (Yes, #44 is now in charge of the White House site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ Go there and read his first official proclamation – January 20th as a “National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation.”  This is a most amazing Web site, in the spirit of the new president’s campaigning, election and inaugural.

 

As the new administration promises…

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


+ five = 7

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>