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Published:January 20th, 2009 20:19 EST
barack obama

Historic And Magical Day: Barack Obama Ushers In Era Of Responsibility

By Robert Paul Reyes


"Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th president of the United States Tuesday, and called on Americans to join him in confronting what he described as an economic crisis caused by greed but also `our collective failure to make hard choices.`"

barack obama

The New York Times

During the hard-fought presidential election some conservatives emphasized President Obama`s middle name in a futile effort to portray him as a pal of Muslim terrorists. But now people of good will can boldly and proudly refer to the son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Africa as President Barack Hussein Obama. Tolerance and inclusiveness has won out over bigotry and divisiveness.

President Obama spoke forcefully and somberly of the challenges facing our nation to a sea of humanity stretching as far as the eye can see. As the cameras panned the assembled multitudes I saw Americans of every gender, age and ethnicity. If Obama is to be successful in turning the economy around and defeating the Islamic terrorist threat, he will need the help of all segments of American society.

There seemed to be a disproportionate percentage of African Americans in the teeming crowds, and who can blame our black brothers and sisters for wanting to witness the culmination of Dr. Martin Luther King`s dream.

As befitting the serious and seemingly intractable problems confronting our great nation, Obama`s speech was brief, grave and with few flights of rhetoric. Perhaps the only memorable line from his delivery was the phrase: Era of responsibility.

We must all take the responsibility for the dismal state of the economy. It`s easy to blame the clueless CEO`s of the auto companies who manufactured vehicles that Americans didn`t want to buy, and the heads of the financial institutions who let greed get in the way of sound financial policy. But we are also at fault for buying gas-guzzling SUVs, and purchasing homes we couldn`t afford to buy. We must take responsibility for our mistakes and resolve not to let greed and self-interest get in the way of what`s best for our democracy.

President Barack Obama`s inaugural speech won`t be remembered for its eloquence, but for its symbolic importance. As an American and as a minority I am overcome with joy that we live in a nation where only an individual`s lack of imagination and determination can prevent him from fulfilling his dreams.

An America that can overcome its history of slavery and segregation and elect an African American to the Oval Office is an America that can rebound from its economic woes and defeat our enemies.

May the optimism of this magical and historical day not dissipate so quickly, we are a great nation and our best days are yet to come.