Last Monday, the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent dedication to civil rights, serendipitously coincided with the inauguration of the first African-American president of the United States for his second term. In his inaugural address, President Obama emphasized the importance of inalienable rights allocated to all people by paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence. President Obama also made history when he mentioned the disparity in pay between men and women in the workforce, and advocated marriage rights for gay people. Though Americans are not unified in their support of the President, Obama made it clear in his address that the people of the United States need not share all the same opinions or look the same. It is “not the color of our skin that unites us, but our ideals,” said the President. It was clear from his address that Obama is ready to move America forward. His eloquent and profound speeches have inspired Americans before, but will President Obama truly be able to fulfill his aspirations in his second term and work with a dysfunctional Congress to do so? Juniata students express their opinions of Obama’s address and what his goals mean for our country’s future.
Morgan Dux ’11 Hawley, Pa.
I think Obama has a tough road ahead. He will need the cooperation of both houses to get anything accomplished, and since each party controls one house it will be difficult. But, I think that Americans are so frustrated with the overall lack of productivity and deadlock, and this will be an incentive to get things done for all those seeking reelection.
Carrington Jones ’13 Hagerstown, Md.
I thought it was a great speech. Although all the points were valid, I do not like how he approached trying to divide the Republican party. The beginning was pretty bipartisan because Obama is not trying to go for re-election. He closed it with a bang, directed at the Republicans. The beginning was very strong and uniting. Instead of blaming a particular party he kept using the phrase “We the people.”
Anna Nycum’16 Marion Center, Pa.
I think Obama will be able to fulfill his promises because presidents are usually more productive in their second terms. They no longer need to please everyone because they’re not running for re-election. I think Obama will be able to work with Congress, but he has to be more assertive. I actually attended the speech in D.C. and the experience was very powerful and uniting as an American, no matter what your party. I saw Obama and other people speak and it gave me a new perspective. It made the people in power seem more accessible.
Hannah Miller ’13 Hanover, Pa.
I thought President Obama gave a really good speech. He is shooting high with his goals. It was interesting that he addressed global warming, but I think keeping his promises will be harder than he made it sound. It will be difficult for him to get support from Congress and work with them, even though it is his second term.
Joel Rhodes ’13 Huntingdon, Pa.
I hope that Obama will be able to keep his promises, but I don’t know if it will be possible. I liked his speech and I liked that he addressed more controversial issues that he previously failed to talk about in his campaign leading up to the election. It was the first time he addressed climate change and gay rights.
- Hannah Jeffery ’16, Juniata Online Journalist