When President Barack Obama strode to the podium to be sworn into office for his second term on Monday, January 21, I will admit, I took pride in the fact that I helped put him there.
As a proud first-time voter, I had a say in who became the president. Sure, my vote was only one of 126 million cast in the 2012 presidential election, but it was significant. In fact, according to statistics, young people ages 18 to 29 made up 19 percent of the voters and 60 percent of them voted for President Obama. I am proud to be part of that statistic.
I never wavered in my confidence for having voted for President Obama, but I was thankful to have that decision reaffirmed during his inaugural address.
I found his speech inspiring. I agree with the values and ideals that he spoke about as vital to the identity of this country—ideals that have shaped and will continue to shape our nation.
President Obama’s speech acknowledged the history of the country. He reminded the audience of our nation’s most important tenets. He gracefully admitted that no presidency can hope to achieve perfection. He took responsibility for mistakes that have been made and will be made in the future. He reassured the nation that regardless of these mistakes, our country will survive and thrive and stay strong and maintain its ideals no matter what. He assured us that we will work toward victories that will serve our nation now and in the future.
As would be expected, Republican politicians and Fox News criticized Obama’s speech, calling it disorganized and too liberal.
While I disagree with their assessment, I acknowledge that one of the most important tenets of this country is freedom of speech, so I do not harbor any anger against those who criticize Obama’s speech.
And perhaps Fox News’ assessment contained a kernel of truth—maybe Obama’s speech was a little disorganized or held some ideas that seem to some to be too liberal—what of it? That does not change the fact that our president is a dedicated, skilled, and intelligent man—the first African-American president ever—an African-American president who not only won the nation’s support once, but twice—the man I am proud to have voted for.
It may be cliché to call attention to the fact that the first African-American president’s second inauguration coincided with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but I don’t think the significance of the fact can be overstated. I think it underscores the fact that we as a nation are more enlightened and committed to becoming a better country, a stronger country, a country that will serve future generations.
Just as Dr. King paved the road to a more honest, open-minded, humane nation and to a presidential inauguration of an African-American, so President Barack Obama is paving the road to a better, stronger, more United United States of America.
I am proud to have been instrumental in voting for Barack Obama as President of the United States. And just as his daughter Malia praised him after his inaugural speech saying, “you didn’t mess up this time!” I say to you who voted with me: neither did you.