‘Moving Forward’ on Social Issues

By: Lucas Baker and Caitlin Robertson

Recently, the fiscal cliff crisis, debt and deficit have been major topics covered by the news. However, today there was no mention of these topics. The main focus of President Obama’s speech was furthering social issues and promoting his vision of ‘moving forward.’

President Obama speaking during his inaugural address

President Obama speaking during his inaugural address
Photo by: Noelle Smith

President Obama highlighted the often back-burner topic of climate change:

We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. 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 America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands 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.

He also mentioned, for the first time ever in a presidential inaugural address, gay rights:

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.

The President also spoke about immigration, health-care, and women’s rights.

What was almost completely lacking from the address was any mention of the debt or deficit and gun control, talks so profound in Washington of late. Just last week the President issued a few executive orders on gun control, but he failed to mention this topic in his inaugural address. The fiscal cliff, a topic that has taken huge amounts of airtime as of late and has been one of the primary topics of our academic speakers was only briefly mentioned by President Obama:

We must make the hard choices to…reduce the size of our deficit.

The lack of mention of these very hot topics is consistent with the President’s main message throughout his address; the need to ‘move forward’ and bring together a very polarized and divided nation.

monster photo 1

Photo by: Noelle Smith

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