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Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama sought to link the past and future on Monday in his second inaugural address, tying the nation's founding principles to the challenges confronting his second term in a call for Americans to fulfill the responsibility of citizenship.
Eschewing poetic language for rhetorical power, Obama cited the accomplishments of the past four years while laying out a progressive agenda for the next four that would tackle thorny issues like gun control, climate change and immigration reform.

 

 


"We have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action," he said.

 


"My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it so long as we seize it together," he added later.
Analysts called the speech politically astute and an important expression of new forcefulness by the president as he enters his second term following re-election last November.


"It's a real declaration of conscience, about principles, about what he believes in," said CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen. "He basically said, 'When I came in the first term, we had all these emergencies, we had these wars. We've now started to clear the decks. Let's talk about what's essential.'"

 

 


Obama speech addresses social justice movements
The foundation of the address, and Obama's vision for the future, were the tenets he quoted from the Declaration of Independence -- "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

 


"Today, we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time," Obama said to gathered dignitaries and flag-waving throngs on the National Mall. "For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth."

 


In particularly pointed references, the president made a forceful call for gay rights that equated the issue with the struggle for women's rights in the 19th century and civil rights in the 1960s.

 

 


"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," Obama said, mentioning landmarks of the women's, black and gay rights movements.

 


"It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began," he continued, prompting the loudest applause and cheers of his address when he said "our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts."

 

 


Opinion: 11 views on Obama's speech


More cheers came when Obama called for "our gay brothers and sisters" to be 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."

 


According to observers, it was the first time a president championed gay marriage in an inaugural address.
With further mention of topical issues such as immigration reform and gun control, Obama came to his key point -- that adhering to America's bedrock principles requires taking action on today's challenges.

 

 


"Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness," he said. "Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time -- but it does require us to act in our time."

 

 


A deep partisan divide in Washington and the country characterized Obama's first term, with Congress seemingly paralyzed at times and repeated episodes of brinksmanship over debt and spending issues bringing the first-ever downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.
Acknowledging the political rift, Obama called for leaders and citizens to work for the greater good of the country.

 


"We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate," he said. "We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect."

 


At the same time, he made clear he would fight for the central themes of his election campaign.
"For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it," he said.

 

 


While "we must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit," he said, "we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future."

 

 


Text of speech


In particular, he defended the need for popular entitlement programs that provide government benefits to senior citizens, the poor and the disabled, saying they were part of the American fabric.

 


"The commitments we make to each other -- through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security -- these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us," Obama said. "They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."

 


On Monday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, one of Obama's harshest critics, called the president's second term "a fresh start when it comes to dealing with the great challenges of our day; particularly, the transcendent challenge of unsustainable federal spending and debt."

 


Other issues also appear difficult, if not intractable.


Obama made a reference to gun control, saying that the nation needed to ensure that "all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm."

 

 


However, congressional Republicans and some Democrats, as well as the powerful gun lobby, have rejected proposals Obama recently announced in response to the Connecticut school shootings that killed 20 Newtown first-graders last month.

 

 


In citing climate change as a priority, Obama raised the profile of the issue on the national agenda after a presidential campaign in which it was almost never mentioned.

 


"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said, warning of a "long and sometimes difficult" path to sustainable energy sources in a nation dominated by its fossil fuel industries such as oil and coal.

 

 


"America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it," Obama said. "We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries -- we must claim its promise."

 


Obama infused his speech with references to two assassinated American icons -- President Abraham Lincoln and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

 


In one passage, Obama cited "blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword" in mentioning the Civil War and slavery. It mimicked Lincoln's second inaugural address in 1865, when he spoke of the possibility that "every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn the sword."

 


Of King, Obama referred to those who came to Washington almost 50 years ago "to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth."
The inauguration coincided with the national holiday honoring King.

 

 


The president concluded by urging Americans to fulfill their responsibility as citizens by meeting "the obligation to shape the debates of our time -- not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals."

 

 


At a little more than 2,100 words, Obama's speech was about 300 shorter than his first inaugural address four years earlier.
In 2009, he was fresh off his historic election as the nation's first African-American president, facing an economic recession, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing terrorist threat.

 

 


David Maraniss, author of the book "Barack Obama: The Story," said the difference from four years ago was palpable, adding: "I could feel his heart beating this time."

 

 

 

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天下雜誌摘錄演說重點

 


◎人類生而平等

「真正讓美國與眾不同的是,我們一直信守一個信念,也就是兩百年前在獨立宣言中所宣示的重要信念:『我們認為這些是不言而喻的真理:所有人生而平等,創造者賦予他們不可剝奪的權利,其中包括了生命、自由、以及對幸福的追求。』……今天我們將繼續這段永不會結束的旅程,讓我們身處的世界,有一天能真正實現我們所堅守的信念。」

 

 

◎保護弱勢是國家責任

「我們共同認為,現代化經濟必須興建鐵路和公路,才能加快運輸和交易速度;我們必須興建學校和大學,訓練未來的工作者。

我們共同發現,唯有訂定規則,確保競爭與公平,才得以維持自由市場的運作。

我們共同決定,一個偉大的國家必須照顧弱勢者,保護人民免於危險和不幸。但我們從未放棄對中央權威的質疑,我們也從不相信,所有的社會問題透過政治便能獲得解決。」

◎美國將不再獨善其身

「若要保護個人自由,就必須集體行動。美國人民再也無法靠單獨採取行動,滿足世界的需求,就如同美國軍隊無法獨力對付法西主義和共產主義。

沒有任何人可以獨自訓練日後教育兒童所需的所有數學和科學教師;也沒有任何人可獨自建設所有道路、網絡和研究實驗室,創造所有的新工作與新商機。如今更重要的是,我們必須團結一致、不分彼此,共同合作完成這些事。」

 

 


◎中產階級是維繫經濟的關鍵多數

「我們所有人都必須了解,當愈來愈少人變得富有,卻有愈來愈多人生活在貧窮之中,我們的國家不可能成功。我們相信,唯有中產階級的茁壯,美國才得以繁榮。我們明白,當每個人能夠獨立自主、對自己的工作感到驕傲,當誠實的勞工大眾所領取的薪資能讓家庭免於受苦,美國才能持續興盛。當生於貧困家庭的小女孩,知道她和其他人擁有相同的成功機會,因為她是美國人、她是自由的、她是平等的,而且不僅在上帝眼中、在我們每個人眼中都是如此,這時我們才是真正信守了當初的信念。」

 

 

◎氣候變遷問題不該丟給後代

「我們依舊堅信,身為美國人的義務,不僅僅是為了美國人自己,而是必須對全人類的繁榮負責。氣候變遷對人類社會帶來嚴重威脅,我們必須做出適當回應,若無法順利解決危機,便是背叛我們的小孩和未來的後代。……朝向永續能源政策之路既漫長且艱難,但美國必須走上這條路,而且我們必須成為領導者。」

 

 

◎公平正義仍未完全實現

「我們這一代的任務,是要繼續完成前人開啟的志業。

我們的旅程仍未結束,除非我們的妻子、我們的母親、我們的女兒能因為她們的努力而獲得相對應的報酬。

我們的旅程仍未結束,除非同志們在法律下應享有相同的權利,如果人人真的生而平等,那麼我們對別人的愛應該也是平等的。

 


我們的旅程仍未結束,除非再也沒有一位公民得被迫等待數小時才有投票權利。

我們的旅程仍未結束,除非我們找到更好的方法,歡迎那些努力向上、抱持無窮希望、至今仍將美國視為機會之地的眾多移民;除非聰明的年輕學生和工程師可以在我們的國家找到工作機會,而不是被驅離。

我們的旅程仍未結束,除非我們所有的小孩,從底特律街頭到阿帕拉契山丘到新城的靜巷,都知道他們被呵護著、被珍惜著、被保護著,不受到傷害。」

 

 

◎勇敢行動,而非求全

「現在是我們作出決定的關鍵時刻,不容有任何延遲。我們不能誤將專制當作原則,讓表象掩蓋政治,將謾罵視為理性辯論。我們必須採取行動,雖然我們心裡明白我們的行動不可能百分之百完美,但仍要採取行動;雖然我們知道無法達成全面的勝利,但仍要採取行動。」

 

 

◎每個人都要負起當家責任

「你和我,身為美國公民,有權力設定國家未來的道路。

你和我,身為美國公民,有義務形塑當代的辯論,不僅是透過投票,更要為傳承百年的價值與理想盡力發聲。

讓你我每個人,用嚴肅的責任與無比的喜悅,擁抱與生俱來的權利。讓我們用共同努力和目標、用熱情與付出,回應歷史的召喚,在不確定的未來注入寶貴的自由之光。」(吳凱琳編譯)

 

 

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資料參考:

CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/21/politics/obama-inauguration-speech/index.html
ABC新聞網
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/president-obama-inaugural-address-crises-horizon/story?id=18264086
天下雜誌
http://www.cw.com.tw/article/article.action?id=5046786

 

 

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