Yesterday, for the second (and final) time in his life, Barack Obama took the oath of office as President of the United States. (I ended up making a DVD copy of the inauguration ceremonies, then watching C-SPAN's rerun of the ceremonies when I got home from work last night.)
And as much as I liked Obama's first inaugural address (1-20-2009), I liked his second one better.
One phrase kept sticking out as the nation's 44th chief executive gave what turned out to be a 14-minute speech: "We the People."
In addition, one other word stuck out: "Together."
The former US senator from Illinois talked about how it's on ALL of us to keep this undertaking called America going...by using solutions that are unique to OUR time, OUR day and age to deal with the problems that we're right now facing.
And, just as Ronald Reagan put the glow on the conservative point of view when he gave his first address as this country's president (1-20-1981), Obama put the halo on the liberal way of doing things in government. [Well, I like to think so! After all, take a look at what happened to the earning power and the buying power of rank-and-file Americans since the former host of TV's General Electric Theater assumed the biggest role he ever had. (They've gone down since 1981.)]
Last week (in fact, on 1-16-2013), this father of two daughters signed 23 executive orders into law. And it was all part of the most extensive gun-control plan since...well, since Reagan got in. (If not that, since an assault-weapon ban was signed into law in 1994 by none other than Bill Clinton.)
The new executive orders include more sharing of government data for background checks, better databases, and government research into why we've got gun violence here in the US. (Don't worry: Improved school safety and better mental-health services will be covered through the new directives.)
On top of that, I like how we're finally going to have a new chief at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
It'd been far too long since an ATFE chief was appointed.
The vacancy- and so many other appointments- would've been filled these last four years if it hadn't been for (let's not kid ourselves) all those Republicans in Congress.
One of those sticks in the mud (oops, I mean Republicans), US Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), wants to get legislation pushed through to block all 23 executive orders. (Paul the Younger thinks Obama's acting like a king.)
Then you've got US Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), who just got back the same seat he had in the mid-1990s, about the time Clinton signed the assault-weapon ban into law.
All Stockman wants is the impeachment of the newest lefthander to call the shots from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Stockman thinks the executive orders are a White House overreach.
No, it's just like Sasha's and Malia's dad said: "We're all in this together." (And what's to do when a Republican-led House simply won't act on one issue after another?)
The previous (112th) Congress passed the fewest bills of any such group since the Congresses Harry Truman had to deal with in the late 1940s: 68 of 'em. Instead of tackling the budget, the debt ceiling, America's infrastructure, and jobs (that last one was the issue all those new US reps who got elected in 2010 loudly proclaimed they'd deal with first and foremost), the House Republicans have, instead, gone on witch hunts...trying to take down not only Obama himself, but also Attorney General Eric Holder as well as the millions of women who use contraceptives.
I don't know if either Paul (Rand or his father Ron) showed up to the inaugural proceedings. Can't tell you if Stockman came to the Capitol to see the ceremonies. But I did see House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) walk across my TV screen (and millions of other people's TV screens).
And Ryan and Boehner might have been thinking: "What am I doing here?"
Speaking of Ryan, I like how BHO shot down both PDR's notion that we're a nation of takers and the whole idea that the three most successful government programs to come out these United States (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) have weakened the country.
Those three programs have actually helped Americans live longer than was the case in the 1930s.
To sum it all up, I like what Michelle's husband wants to do with the next four years...and I like his message that, regardless of what we look like, what we believe for a religion, where we were born, etc., etc., we've ALL got a stake in trying to improve the world's most talked-about, most envied, most closely-watched nation there is.
And I'm going to try my best to help. (How about you?)