The arrogance and hypocrisy of the statement is discouraging. President Obama continued, "To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West -- know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."
I wonder when the "West" will accept some of the blame for the ill will that it has garnered for its actions in the global south and in the Middle East. When will the "West" admit to the lies, the disinformation, the interventions, the invasions, the slaughter of innocents, the empire building... when will the "West" realize that the size of its military industrial complex will not guarantee that its towers will be safe and its people secure? Only a "new era of diplomacy" can.
Sure President Obama had some positive things to say, as when he addressed "the Muslim world" with words of reconciliation and hope; "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."
Perhaps the new U.S. president refers to the unholy terror visited on the Palestinian people of Gaza these past four weeks... maybe the "West" will seek a "new way" that will not involve the unleashing of one of the world's most lethal military and its arsenal of weapons (equipped and supported by its protector, the U.S.) on a hapless civilian population (shades of Iraq's bombardment, which also included cluster bombs, white phosphorus and depleted uranium)? The slaughter of over 1300 people, most of them women and children has not brought Israel any closer to winning the "respect" of the world nor as it cowered or defeated the will of Palestinians.
It is probably a dream to hope that the outgoing Bush administration will be held accountable for its crimes against humanity. That is not what the new U.S. president was implying when he said, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." One can only hope that the Republicans in the U.S. legislature will not obstruct the new administration in its efforts to create new jobs and bring in a new era of a green economy that is less dependent on oil and carbon bi-products.
Obama said, "America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words." Unfortunately, timeless words will not address the United States' "hardships." Perhaps the new U.S. president should visit the question; Why has the U.S. met with such hardship of late? What about the senseless war in Iraq and the planned escalation in Afghanistan, the loss of manufacturing jobs through neo-liberal policies, the stagnant wages, the unregulated greed and corruption... ?
What about accountability? The truth shall set you free... then a reconciliation can take place that will see that U.S. and international laws are respected and upheld for future generations.
The speech was a stern "call to action" for U.S. citizens; as well as recriminations and a holding out of an "olive branch" to "the Muslims" (wonder if any of those are left in Palestine?)... but what would have carried it to the next level would have been if it held less hypocrisy, more truth and most importantly more soul and corny as it sounds... more LOVE. Where is the love?
The good Reverend Joseph Lowery spoke of love. He said in his benediction, "And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance." The narrow scope of his focus is unfortunate because his concluding remarks made clear that he was referring to people within the confines of the U.S. borders.
"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- (laughter) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (laughter) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (laughter) -- and when white will embrace what is right."Rest in peace and love Dr. Martin Luther King--who's January 15th birthday was celebrated on Monday, January 19, a day before the swearing in of President Barack Obama. Would that President Obama had paid tribute to Dr. King by quoting from his speech entitled "Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence."
"This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers."It is encouraging for the world that even though the U.S.'s new "Commander and Chief" was not forthcoming with the love, his supporters, be they U.S. born or internationally bred, were. They have warmly embraced the new "leader of the free world" and wish him the best. Hopefully, with their love, support and civic involvement -- "a change is gonna come."