Obama unveils vision of new world (Overall Lead)

January 21st, 2009 - 1:50 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 21 (IANS) US President Barak Obama Tuesday unveiled his vision of a new world rooted in the values and principles of America’s founding fathers even as he pledged to fight challenges ranging from terrorism, to the Iraq war, to the global economic crisis. “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things,” Obama said in an emotional address heard with rapt attention and punctuated by repeated applause by a crowd of 2 million that stretched two miles from the Capitol Hill to the Lincon Memorial.

Millions more around the world watched the America’s first African-American president on TV speaking his mind out during his 20-minute inauguration speech.

According to Obama, “the time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness”.

“On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics,” the president added.

Reminding his audience that the challenges the US faced “are real”, Obama added: “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.”

Noting the struggles and sacrifices made in the past “so that we might live a better life”, Obama said America’s forebearers “saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.”

“This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.

“Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed.

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America,” Obama said.

In this context, he noted that “everywhere we look”, there is work to be done.

“The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.

“We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.

“And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do,” Obama affirmed.

The president pledged firm action against terrorists, saying: “We will defeat you.”

“We will not apologise for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you,” Obama said.

Pointing to America’s plurality, he said: “We know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers.”

Obama also had a special word for the Muslim community across the world.

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” he maintained.

Obama reiterated his commitment of leaving Iraq “to its people”.

“We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.”

Addressing the problems of the less developed nations, Obama said: “To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.”

“To those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.”

Obama concluded his speech by noting that the challenges might be new and the instruments to meet them would be new but the values upon which success depended were old.

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old.”

“What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task,” Obama maintained.

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