The impression I got from watching President Barack Obama’s inaugural address is that he is acutely aware of the burden that has now fallen upon his shoulders.
But I also think that in this address he accomplishes what Prime Minister Aso Taro has thus far failed to do. He does not hesitate to state his appreciation of the darkness of the hour, but that does not stop him from maintaining that the United States can and will overcome its problems and emerge stronger for it. In his remarks Mr. Aso hurries through the first part to give vague assurances of a speedy recovery.
As President Obama said:
Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.