Interpreting Obama’s Inaugural Address

One of the key ways to mislead people is to use the same words everyone else uses, but to give those words a different meaning without explaining to the listeners the new definitions. President Obama’s inaugural address needs to be interpreted in that way. He used “Progressive-Speak” to make his points, yet most Americans don’t understand this particular language. I feel it is my duty to be his interpreter. I won’t include the entire speech; it would be far too long. Oh, for another Lincolnesque inaugural! I will instead provide key sentences and phrases, to be followed by my comments. The president’s words will be italicized; mine will be in bolded letters afterwards.

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution.

That’s the same Constitution he has criticized for being too negative. It’s the same Constitution he has ignored wholesale. But a nod to it is essential if he wants to reel in the unsuspecting to accept what is to follow.

What makes us exceptional—what makes us American–is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago . . .

He then quotes the Declaration of Independence about our Creator giving us inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Right to life? Since when has he believed that? Certainly not in the case of unborn children.

Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.

Sounds good. However, what’s behind those words is a deep-seated belief that the Founders failed in their time, that most of American history is a failure to make those words realities, and only now, under his leadership, will we see them fulfilled.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers. Together we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

“Together” is Progressive-Speak for government control and direction, and it applies to travel, commerce, and education: the government needs to direct all of them. The free market, however, cannot be truly free; government must set up rules ahead of time to force what the government deems to be “fair.” Caring for the vulnerable and protecting people from life’s hazards means the government will ensure no one fails. All are protected by Big Brother—except, of course, the unborn.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone.

When Ronald Reagan said something like this, it meant exactly what those words say. When Barack Obama says this, it means . . . nothing. It’s a sop in the direction of those who are wondering if we’ve gone too far. To be charitable, he may be referring to those “private” organizations that he can direct and control, such as community organizers. Yet they are simply arms of his government, doing his bidding.

But 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 requires collective action.

Collective, collective, collective. We no longer live in the founding era, so now we must lay aside those ideas and follow the newer collective model. Collective = government direction and control.

A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun.

[Insert hearty laughter here.]

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.

That evil 1% is really going to suffer now. And please don’t ask why so many are barely making it after four years of my administration. It’s probably Bush’s fault.

We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

This is to convey the impression that American poverty may be the worst on the planet, notwithstanding all those Third World nations whose citizens would grasp at the chance to be as poor as the typical poor American. Notice the little girl is allowed to be born. That’s not always the case in Barack Obama’s vision of America where Planned Parenthood receives taxpayer funds to abort more than 330,000 children in a year.

We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.

Never mind that Obamacare is poised to send health insurance costs through the roof and add to the deficit. Never mind that Obama inherited a $10 trillion deficit and has somehow accomplished raising it to more than $16 trillion in four years. [Feel free to insert more laughter here.]

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.

We are to accept this just because he says so. We are not to come to our own conclusions based on the best climate analysis, but instead are to bow to his interpretation. Climate change deniers are idiots.

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.

Like the billions of taxpayer dollars he wasted on failed “green” industries owned and operated by his cronies/supporters.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. . . . We are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war; who turned sworn enemies into the surest friends—and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We have an inordinate fear of Islam. Those people are not really wanting a war with us. As long as we are reasonable, they will learn to love us. [Insert deep sigh here.]

 America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. . . . Peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice.

Applied to all non-Western societies, but not to Israel. Tolerance can only go so far, you know.

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.

Women and homosexuals have been just as unfairly treated as blacks in American history. Oppression abounds at all times, and to all people who are not white males, in our past.

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.

Nothing hidden here. Homosexuals are born that way, and their love for one another is just like any love a man and woman have for one another. Same-sex marriage must become the law of the land.

Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness.

You must now define liberty the way I say it ought to be defined. Set aside the traditional definition of the word and accept my new definition.

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. For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay.

I don’t want any debate on the proper role of government or the limitations put on our government by the Constitution. I want to act now and do what I want to do without any hindrances. Anyone who gets in the way is opposed to “we the people.”

We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.

We must cast out those evangelicals/conservatives who are always talking about principles because they are impeding my goals. We must always treat with respect those with whom we disagree and not resort to demonizing them. [In other words, follow the president’s excellent example in which he has never called his opponents names or demonized them. Another good place to insert hearty laughter.]

The rest of the speech is the typical fluff with which most speeches end. Chris Matthews is comparing this inaugural with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. Sorry, but I consider it a contrast. If you want to read a great inaugural, go to Lincoln’s Second and savor its magnanimity toward his opponents. The spirit is entirely different than the one delivered yesterday.

We are in for a long four years.