Seattle Courant Archive

Barack Hussein Obama, The First African American President, Takes Office

Barack Hussein Obama, The First African American President, Takes Office

By Keith Vance
January 20, 2009

Obama made it through the swearing in ceremony and delivered an inaugural speech that was both hopeful and somber.

“We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

But that road to happiness will not come easy. Obama said that Americans face a tough journey ahead.

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift. And we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.”

Obama gave a nod to the scientific community that has felt marginalized during the Bush administration’s tenure in the White House.

“We will restore science to its rightful place.”

But it was the economy that dominated President Obama’s speech today. And his plan to dig America’s tattered economy out of the doldrums included big ideas for the $1 trillion he’s expected to spend.

“Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply.”

Obama said that now is this generation’s chance to do something that historians will look back on as the moment that they met adversity with greatness.

“Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter.”