Obama Inauguration Speech Contains Few Solutions to America's Problems

Minutes after President Obama took an oath to "faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States" at the Capitol’s west front, he delivered his inaugural address with one main message: “We must act.”

In a speech that was more detailed than many had suspected it would be, the president mentioned issues such as health care, immigration, and gay-rights.

In his speech, the president also stressed that the nation must come together in order to overcome the innumerable issues we face today, pointing out that we can’t succeed as a nation if we are as divided, politically, as we are today. 

"We are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together,” he said.

Specifically, he mentioned Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, saying that the regardless of how careful we are or how responsibly we live, unforeseen events always take us by surprise and we, as citizens of the United States, have a responsibility to one another to be help out when we can. The programs, as often argued by the conservatives, “do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great,”said Obama.

He also surprised many by bluntly stating his policies regarding climate change, saying, “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.”

He continued said that the nation must redirect itself towards a path leading to more sustainable energy sources.

He also made history when he mentioned the gay rights struggle, saying that gay and lesbian people have the right to be treated “like anyone else under the law.”

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — 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," he said.

But as the president pointed out the policies and issues looming over both him and the nation as a whole for the next four years, we were also reminded of the struggle that is yet to come.

Issues that the president grappled with in the first term have followed him into the second, including deficits, Social Security, Medicare, and — one of the most hot-button issues today — an assault weapon ban and other gun control measures. International challenges have also mounted throughout the years, including a volatile Middle East, and the on-going race economic competition with China.

His tone also indicated that it wasn't simply his way or the high-way. He made it clear that compromise was necessary in a feat this large, saying, "Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people."

“Our journey is not complete” the president said. After outlining the major problems and challenges facing the country, that much is clear.

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Areej Elahi-Siddiqui

A Pakistani-American undergraduate student at the Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She enjoys watching inordinate amounts of television, reading far too many books and drinking lots and lots of coffee.

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