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What Obama Should Have Said

By       Message Dan Wick       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   27 comments

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I trust that I am not alone in my disappointment at Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address. I thought it shaky not stirring. If he had taken a leaf from Lincoln, who prized the Declaration of Independence above all our founding documents, and gone him one better by focusing on the Preamble to the Consitution, here is what President Obama might have said (See if you agree):

My fellow citizens, recall for the moment the opening words of our Constitution: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union.” The preamble does not say, “We the Wealthy and the Elite” or “We the Wise and the Educated.” It says “We the People!” meaning All the People.

And then our Constitution says “To Form a More Perfect Union.” It does not say that our Union is perfect but that We, the People can make it more perfect.  

The preamble further says that We the People must ‘establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

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The authors of the Constitution do not say to us that justice is established, domestic tranquility is ensured, the common defense is adequate, the general welfare has been promoted to its highest level, and that the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity have been secured. It says that We the People must do these things.

And so, my fellow citizens, let us promise that We, the American People will meet the challenges laid down by the Founders.

We the People will not condone torture or brutality either here or abroad.

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We the People will observe the law, both domestic and international.

We the People will not neglect the stewardship of our land or of our planet.

We the People will promote the common defense not just of ourselves but of all the freedom-loving citizens of the world.

We the People will not engage in needless wars or foolhardy
enterprises.
 
And, above all, We the People will strive to secure the blessings of liberty, justice, and equality not just for our posterity but for all posterity.

My fellow Americans, we all come together to confront the great challenges that lie ahead. And we  will keep always in mind that acting in common purpose We the People Shall Overcome!

 

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Distinguished Lecturer Emeritus, University of California. Special fields: Spies and Spying, The Historical Jesus, the French Revolution. Author of three books and more than 300 articles, essays, and reviews.

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