Here's the full text of President Barack Obama's first big speech. Some snippets:
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. 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….
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. All this we will do….
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate….
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed—why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
I think the crisis talk is highly and purposefully exaggerated, both by Obama and virtually every other politician and commentator around. Crisis, after all, allows for the New Dealesque bold, persistent experimentation and all that. The economy may be in the shitter, for sure, and as readers of this site know, that's in large part precisely due to the sort of government action taken over the past eight years and more. Indeed, Obama campaigned on the idea that overspending and too much credit are to blame for the crunch. Now he advises we do even more of the same.
The reality that Obama underscores in that last paragraph quoted above—that race relations and tolerance in general have radically changed for the better in post World War II America—is something phenomenal that really can't be overstated. But the declinist tone in Obama's opening address to the country, and the "new New Deal" sort of policies he's suggested leave me worried that he's going to be ruling like it's 1979. Christ, the Steelers are even back in the Super Bowl.
Reason staffers tell their hopes and fears for the 44th president of these United States (approximately four minutes; links and embed code here):