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2013 Inaugural Poem: One Today – Richard Blanco

The following poem was delivered by inauguration poet Richard Blanco during ceremonies for President Obama’s second inaugural Monday. The text of the poem was provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

“One Today”

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper — bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives — to teach geometry, or ring up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind — our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across cafe tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me — in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always — home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country — all of us –
facing the stars
hope — a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it — together

Make a Man Out of Me – Richard Blanco – Huffington Post - Posted: 01/20/2013 9:29 am

President Barack Obama’s 2013 Inaugural Address

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.

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.

OBAMA: What makes us exceptional, what makes us America 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.

(APPLAUSE)

That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 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.

OBAMA: 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. And for more than 200 years we have. Through blood drawn by lash, and blood drawn by sword, we noted that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half slave, and half free.

OBAMA: 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 resolve 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 societies 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.

For 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.

OBAMA: Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.(APPLAUSE) This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled (ph) our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending.

And 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, of 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)

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 will liberate families from the brink of hardship.

OBAMA: 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.

(APPLAUSE)

We understand that outworn (ph) 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 hard or 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.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.

(APPLAUSE)

But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.

(APPLAUSE)

For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative.

OBAMA: They strengthen us.

(APPLAUSE)

They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great.

(APPLAUSE)

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 American cannot resist this transition. We must lead it.

(APPLAUSE)

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.

OBAMA: 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 turn sworn enemies into the surest of friends. And we must carry those lessons into this time as well. We will defend our people, and uphold our values through strength of arms, and the rule of law.

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

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: 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.

OBAMA: 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. We the people declare today that the most evident of truth 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.

(APPLAUSE)

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.

(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, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: 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.

OBAMA: That is our generation’s task, to make these works, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.

Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness.

Progress does not compel us to settle century’s long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.

(APPLAUSE)

For now, decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.

(APPLAUSE)

We must act. We must act knowing that our work will be imperfect (ph). We must act knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

OBAMA: My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction.

And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream.

My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas.

(APPLAUSE)

Let us each of us now embrace with solemn duty, and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you.

God bless you.

And may He forever bless these United States of America.

END

War Is Over – John & Yoko Ono Lennon – Intercoastal Waterway – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Time For Change

Time For Change - US Out of Baghdad

© Frank H. Jump

December 31, 2008 © Frank H. Jump

Gays & Lesbians Still Missing from Obama's "Inclusive" Victory Speeches

Obama Logo

Again I missed the words “gays and lesbians” in Obama’s North Carolina’s Victory Speech. Are we that much of a liability to an already shaky public stance on gay and lesbian inclusion? And where are we represented on the Obama Website?

See: Obama’s Hollow Pride
Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish
The Black Commentator

Did Obama Snub SF Mayor Newsom Over Same-Sex Marriage Decision?

During his Senate run in Illinois in 2004, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is said to have declined to have his picture taken with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was in the center of a national turmoil over his decision to allow same-sex marriage in the city.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that the snub took place at a fund-raiser hosted by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

“I gave a fund-raiser at (Obama’s) request at the Waterfront restaurant,” Brown told the Chronicle. “And he said to me, he would really appreciate it if he didn’t get his photo taken with my mayor. He said he would really not like to have his picture taken with Gavin.”

While the Obama campaign has denied the rumors, Newsom’s staff has corroborated the event.

In a Reuters interview in January 2007, Newsom alluded to the event when asked about his thoughts on potential Democratic candidates Obama, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. He was also asked about his peers’ reaction to his allowing same-sex marriages, which some allege helped Republicans by introducing a wedge issue in an election year.

Newsom said he received harsh reactions from other politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike.

“One of the three Democrats you mentioned as presidential candidates, as God is my witness, will not be photographed with me, will not be in the same room with me,” Newsom told Reuters, “even though I’ve done fund-raisers for that particular person — not once, but twice — because of this issue.”

San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Duffy told the Chronicle that the mayor’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton over Obama, which was announced six months ago, was due to repaying political favors. Newsom says that the snub did not influence his decision, though Brown thinks otherwise.

“I think he has harbored this resentment for years,” Brown said about Newsom in the Chronicle story. “I would guess that is part of the rejection of the Obama campaign.”

During the same campaign season, then-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry also worked to avoid San Francisco following the controversy.

Brown said he doesn’t blame Obama for his caution because of the heavy conservative vote in southern Illinois.

Newsom, who attended a Town Hall meeting with the Clinton campaign Monday, said he still looked forward to voting for Obama — in eight years. (The Advocate)