Why the re-election of Barack H. Obama II is important to America

By: By Alex Joe Special to The News Messenger
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I am reporting on thoughts generated as I was a member of the 800,000-plus person contingent attending the second inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21.

I was welcomed to the city of Washington, D.C. and pleased to be a recipient of space on the National Mall to see the entire swearing-in event.

It, like the inauguration in 2009, was exciting and very rewarding personally.

Thomas Paine wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” They were written in his pamphlet, “The American Crisis,” during the winter of Valley Forge as a way to encourage soldiers and the public to continue to fight in the Revolution despite the many severe hardships the war was putting everyone through.” In 1777, General Washington and his troops stayed there in southeastern Pennsylvania.

”We are at war people!” Paine intimated, and further pointed out the reality that there are too many ways to fail, if we do not act …

We attend inaugurations because we are instilled with devotion to America in support of our leaders’ promises to caretake our government. Working together, doing the right thing and never giving up on each other or the effort is what we urge them to do.

I want that for America. We are one nation in a state of war, with each other. That it exists, again, within this democratic republic, is reason to come together and problem-solve for our common good.

Today, the states are united, yet the political leadership is at odds over ways in which we attend to our wealth.

The re-inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama II as president is in keeping with what leadership the people of America mandated.

But, it is just a spoke in the wheel of history.

In 2009, the world acknowledged Obama’s rise to prominence in awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize. We witnessed their appreciation “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” 

Andrea Davis Pinkney describes, in a new book, “Hand in Hand, Ten Black Men Who Changed America,” how President Obama fits this mold.

Obama brings a perspective to the office that has been lacking for a long time. He works tirelessly to bring all people into the big tent of opportunity. This type of effort is part and parcel reasoning for his ability to convince Americans to support his brand of work in rebuilding our economy, infrastructure, health care system, domestic environment, military, immigration policy and much more. There is so much to do.

Obama has an ability to address problems with effective strategies brought, in part, by his listening to his advisors. No one could effectively deal with the magnitude of issues facing this, or any other nation, alone. To that extent, leaders and negotiators bring ideas to the table to help solve the nation’s problems at home and serve to extend hope abroad. There is so much to do. There is so much to do that requires us to act and thus, grow.

The president comes not alone to this opportunity. Preceding him were “giants” working to make a mark on the American diaspora. Americans, such as Crispus Attucks, Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington, led the way. He stepped in the footsteps left by thinkers such as Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Thurgood Marshall, William White, Dr. Ralph D. Abernathy, Jackie Robinson, Jack Johnson, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, A Philip Randolph, Andrew Young, and Jesse Jackson. His political role models are numerous, diverse in reach, and significant, both regionally and nationally. They include the Roosevelts, the Kennedys, the Clintons, and others. Spiritually, he would take counsel from leaders influenced by the incomparable Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Attending the inaugurations is the type of event one never forgets. It deepens the trust in human interaction because we are all there together. We trust in the purity of the event and the protections built in to the gathering.

These events invite the public to celebrate the victory and the challenge of governance. I wanted to be there for those reasons. I expect to attend future inaugurations as a way of showing my agreement with the will of the electorate. It may not be partisan but it will be significant because our attendance supports unity.

We are better when we get to know each other and take baby steps, strides, leaps to reduce uncertainty. We are challenged to address climate change, gun control, affordable care, business controls, race relations, military strategies, and other demands.

We are going to recognize these needs and then develop means to complete work on them as important national goals.

Our determination and resolve brought us this far.

Hope and change will take us to the next level.

The next level, multi-tiered and developmental, is the wise and clear choice for a nation like ours at this time in our existence.

Please help attend to these concerns through your respect for differences of opinion and your willfulness to do something to compromise on a solution to a problem of your choice because “these are the times that try men’s souls.”

Alex Joe is a Lincoln High School special ed teacher.