President faces challenges at start of new term
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 00:01
President Obama, officially and publicly sworn into his second term Monday morning, is at the start, once again, of needing to renew our nation from division, economic crisis and equality turmoil.
When he first began his presidency four years ago, he was entering an office that required significant work to be done to stall a variety of possible crisis.
While it seems that, in many ways, President Obama is now starting again at the same place, if not even more behind, the Inaugural day and MLK holiday was one of optimism and prudent belief in future prosperity.
“We made ourselves anew, and we vowed to move forward together,” President Obama said at the beginning of his address. “…when times change, so must we.”
While some are calling the President’s speech to America partisan and divisive, others interpret his decisive message as an articulated beacon of hope.
“He helped give us that boost of confidence that he’s going to do what he said he was going to do in his campaign,” Inauguration attendee Pamela Waylock said.
“I think that everybody can relate to the struggles that he was talking about.”
Obama brought up some of the most current and hotly-debated issues being faced by our country, including immigration, women’s rights and gay rights.
In a crowd full of supporters, verbal promise to improve such issues was well received.
“Being a lesbian, it’s awesome to be in the city and be a part of this,” crowd member Amy Hernandez said. “It was very moving.”
Michael Beschloss, one of the nation’s leading presidential historians, offered his own insight into Obama’s second term at a National Cathedral forum Sunday morning. During a sort of “public conversation” with Cathedral Dean Gary Hall, Beschloss said that while Obama is not the “grand, dramatic figure” most previous presidents have been, he has nonetheless been unafraid to make bold, divisive decisions.
Evident most recently in his push for legislation on gun control, the President “was willing to take that risk,” putting himself clearly on one side of a very volatile division, and “who knows what will happen,” Beschloss said.
“If he does get it passed, he’s going to look a lot more powerful.”
According to Beschloss, who based many of his assertions and predictions not only on President Obama’s past four years, but also the histories of his many predecessors, if Obama is able to pass legislation regarding gun control, “it will enable him to [move forward with] some of these other things.”
However, in a time with a significant gridlock between parties, Beschloss asserted that Obama would need to remain well aware of party conflict and compromise.
“It’s more intense now than almost it has ever been,” Beschloss said of the disunion between parties. By the same token, “everything always looks worse at the time.”
Whether or not that is true at this time for our country, Beschloss said one of the most important things for the President to build and maintain is a good relationship with the other deciding members of government.
“In this atmosphere, when it’s even harder for presidents to get things from Congress, you’re probably at a little bit of a disadvantage if that is not your forte,” he said, relating it to past presidents’ successes and failures on similar terms.
Following his more left-sided address, the President offered a sort of “olive branch” to Congress during the Inaugural Luncheon, with a unified tone.
“I recognize that democracy is not always easy and there are profound differences in this room, but I want to thank you for your service,” President Obama said to attending members of Congress. “I’m confident that we can act at this moment.”
The reception of Obama’s more “humble” approach during the Luncheon may play out in the coming weeks as discussions and possible decisions are made regarding the debt ceiling, gun control and more.