8 thoughts on “Obama’s Inaugural Address Embraces Muslims, Jews, Non-Believers, Breaks from Bush – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. You missed one passage. Most Americans seem to be missing it, yet it floats there like a turd in a punch bowl–

    “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.”

    He says this two days after the ceasefire in Gaza. Un-freaking believable. Well, no, entirely believable, because American political culture is deeply narcissistic and no politician ever paid a price pandering to our self image as the ones opposed to terrorism as opposed to the ones who support it. I doubt, though, that any Palestinian who reads that portion will interpret it quite the way Obama meant it.

  2. A ceasefire, of course, that was reached to avoid embarrassing the great one during his inauguration. I wonder if he’d have said it if the bombing had still been going on? Probably so.

  3. Tribal lines dissolving can’t really refer to I/P in any coherent way, unless he wants a one-state solution.

    I’m being very negative, I know. There are many good parts in the speech, and anyone is a huge improvement over Bush, but the speech has its troubling elements, particularly in the parts involving the Middle East. Basically, he’s renounced torture (good), but we’ll see if he prosecutes American war criminals the way he would, say, a Serbian or Iraqi war criminal. And most of the olive branch to the Middle East is condescending–THEY should unclench their fists and THEY have leaders who stir up trouble and who destroy rather than build and THEY produce terrorists who pursue their objectives by killing innocent people. It’s a step up from Bush, but it’s also the same old American exceptionalism with a superficial multicultural gloss. It only seems new because Bush lowered us to the point where we were open advocates of torture.

  4. I don’t want to be leery, I really really do NOT. Our country has gone through
    these last eight years of an administration that absolutely tore asunder our
    Constitution and has wrought absolute devastation with it’s foreign policy. I
    don’t need to list any details, we know them. If one gets quiet in the heart and
    thinks about it, you want to vomit. Yesterday it hit me like a sledgehammer.
    It’s over, it truly is over.

    Donald above quoted more of the paragraph of what Obama stated on the Middle
    East. I chose to read the speech for content not only listen to it. When one is
    so full of hope for a new beginning, a leaving behind of the Bush policies once
    and for all, then we have this great orator delivering his inauguration speech,
    one’s listening abilities may be clouded by emotion and the HOPE that is Obama’s
    chosen signature. I wanted to look at the content 100% objectively, tossing
    aside who said it, concentrating on WHAT was said.

    I came to a conclusion, and this is my own personal conclusion. If I had no
    idea who spoke those words, I would have guessed George Bush.

    Obama wasn’t speaking to me as an American, he was speaking to those who I
    personally want to have no control over our foreign policy ANY MORE.

    Then again, if he were addressing THOSE people with these words (again)

    ““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.”

    (cont.) and he is TRULY seeking peace, if he REALLY wants to do this, those
    words needed to be spoken to all those in America who have slaughtered
    innocents, the innocents of Iraq, Palestine (by giving carte blanch to Israel)
    and all the other peoples of the world who have been affected in whatever
    negative degree by our foreign policy.

    Peace begins when America chooses to act peacefully
    It is America wo maintains the largest military in the world with it’s presence in over 130 countries (Chalmers Johnson). It is America who gives more aid to Israel than any other country, who seems to have some skewed idea that aligning ourselves with it benefits us somehow which couldn’t be further from the truth. It is America who invaded a sovereign nation (Iraq) which violated the Nuremberg principles. It is America who toppled the democratically elected Mosadeg, and on and on and on.

    Please President Obama, choose peace over “defeat”, diplomacy over war, and help us as a nation to join the human race again where we inherently KNOW that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.

    1. I can’t tell you how much I disagree w. you–esp the bit about the address sounding like George Bush. I hope you’re deliberately using hyperbole. If not, what you’ve said is preposterous–at least to me.

  5. Jon Stewart compared parts of the speech to Bush.

    It’s better than Bush, but the part I quoted at the top was obscene. Entirely predictable from an American politician, because there’s not that much distinction between mainstream politicians when it comes to pretending that we are the good guys, never responsible for terror, and the Other is evil.

    I keep hearing that Obama is great because he talks to us as though we are adults. Well, no, not always, not on some subjects.

  6. Richard,
    As I wrote, I am reading the speech and trying my best to be objective. Also as
    I wrote above, I really REALLY do not want to be leery. I WANT change, but my
    God, there is so much ingrained in the American psyche concerning our “greatness
    as a nation”, our paternalism and our expectations that if any one had a lick of
    sense they would all drop what they are doing and quickly take on American
    values. Follow that with US intervention in the Middle East for YEARS and
    you’ve got a problem.

    Let’s pick out all the references to the Middle East and Muslims in Obama’s
    speech and read them objectively.

    His first reference is in paragraph #4

    “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.”

    There you go, first reference to the “war on terror”, he doesn’t use that term,
    but what IS he referring to? Perhaps I am wrong, but the way I am reading it is
    that he is reaffirming the same exact thing that Bush has said for years, they
    hate us, they are willing to use violence against us, we are at war with them, later on in the speech, “We will defeat you”

    Who is WE? Of course it is America. This gives no reference whatsoever to the fact that more Muslims have been killed by acts of terror than anyone else. Furthermore, it doesn’t recognize at all the fact that more Muslims have been killed by US than the other way around.

    Next reference, two paragraphs later:

    “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.”

    My question is HOW? Is Obama going to change US foreign policy in such a
    drastic manner that there is no reason form this hatred towards our country for
    all of it’s interference in those nations? Is he going to say to our business
    interests there, NO we’re not acting this way any more, if they wish to
    nationalize their natural resources it is their RIGHT to do so? Is he going to
    educate the American public that there is a REASON why they hate us?
    Now mind you, this hatred for America goes MUCH further back than 911 and there
    are LEGITIMATE reasons for it. Or, is he going to continue on with business as
    usual which I very uncomfortably am finding in further statements in his speech.

    Next paragraph which doesn’t on it’s surface apply to the Middle East, but is
    definitely a statement of America the Great which one MUST understand is not
    felt by all the dead and their survivors who have been at the receiving end of
    our foreign policy:

    “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and
    our ideals. Our founding fathers … our found fathers, faced with perils we can
    scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of
    man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light
    the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all the
    other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals
    to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of
    each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and
    dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.”

    My question again is HOW? How are we going to lead? Liberal paternalism over
    other nations is still paternalism, neo-liberalism. Obama is clearly stating that America is
    willing to lead. Hello, these nations that we are “willing to lead” are
    sovereign nations within themselves. These countries of the Middle East aren’t
    led by uneducated backwards leaders who haven’t a clue about leading their own
    I dare to say the level of education and world knowledge far outweighs that of
    our own leaders. For goodness sakes, these nations of the Middle East are
    leading their peoples according to their own cultures. I dare you to compare
    any Arab that has gone through only the high school level of education up
    against an American high school educated person. They have learned more about
    America than American educated high school students have. I am speaking from
    experience on this one Richard because I’m a former high school government
    teacher, ONE semester required. Yet we here want to lead them? They happen to
    know that our “leading” of them is pure hypocrisy because we do NOT extend “all
    men are created equally” to them. No, we here in America seem to think they
    need to be “led” while dropping bombs on them and overthrowing governments for
    our business interests. Can you realize this has left a sour taste in their
    mouths? “Those ideals light the world”? There is a disconnect Richard between
    the IDEALS of America and our actions towards others. For far too long “peace” has been a loaded gun for American foreign policy, or carrots given for favors returned.

    Next reference which if you can’t see how this sounds like Bush I don’t know
    what to say,

    “We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense”

    Full stop. It is America’s way of life that we PRECISELY have to change.
    Continuing on with this arrogance that defines the American psyche while
    undermining other nations sovereignty creates an animosity towards us that is
    palpable, and I am not referring to those who seek to commit violent acts
    against us, I am referring to the average man on the Arab Middle Eastern street, Christian and Muslim alike in Palestine and other countries who have been on the receiving end of our foreign policy,

    Then he went on to address the “Muslim World” but just prior in the paragraph
    before he states “WE” are a nation of…..we are made up of people from all
    walks of life, we have “the bitter swill of civil war and segregation”, and come
    out on top, WE did it, and? Is he saying in a paternal fashion, you can do it

    Read closely Richard, “To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow
    conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will
    judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”

    He has already stated we will never apologize for our way of life. WHAT has
    been our way of life concerning meddling in THEIR countries? You’re darn tootin
    these countries have ills and many of them have been visited upon them by
    America! When will it ever enter the American psyche that if the shoe were on
    the other foot we certainly wouldn’t be pleased? Do the peoples of these
    nations have any different emotions than we do? Yes they have a different
    culture, but they cry, they weap, they mourn, they want acceptance as our equals
    in HUMANITY. They do not want to be led by America, they want the opportunity to lead THEMSELVES.

    Read the first letter in this link:

    On a different note, another aspect of the speech stuck out to me. This:

    “that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.”

    OK, let’s think through this statement. Who are the “adversaries” he is referring to? Is he referring to the countries of the Middle East which sit on top of the world’s richest oil fields? Wake up America, the US imports it’s oil from different nations in the following order #!-from Canada, #2 Saudi Arabia, #3 Mexico, for the rest of the list refer here.

    Is Canada our adversary? Not hardly. Is Saudi Arabia our adversary? Not hardly. Saudi Arabia is the closest US ally in the entire Middle East yet be want to portray them as backwards and then on top of it controlling us with their oil. Is Mexico our adversary? Well, I guess you could ask Tancredo and he would give you a resounding YES!

    I truly don’t want to go off topic but this is also as I read it (capital “I”) addressing American ignorance. We’ve got to get off Mideast oil so they hold nothing over us. If one knew anything at all about Saudi Arabian oil politics they would know that THEY have a problem with the world’s demand for oil and their own dependence on the wealth it gives their country. There will come a time in the not to distant future that this oil runs out. This is precisely why they are FAR ahead of us in the development of solar energy, researching and developing power grids so that they may be an exporter of solar energy to surrounding countries.. What are we doing? Practically nothing except for griping about their hold over us!

    Personally, I would like to see a president give an inauguration speech which doesn’t further the notion that we are being held hostage by anothers’ resources while at the same time we are overthrowing governments who try to nationalize them. Would we accept this from any outside force? I certainly don’t think so, yet Obama has said we will not apologize for our way of life.

    Again, I truly HOPE, sincerely HOPE that American foreign policy will change, but before that can occur, we must delve deep in to our psyche to face hard truths about ourselves as a nation. Is Obama a step in the right direction? From the depths of my heart, I HOPE so.

    Also, Richard, I am not in any manner trying to knock your own confidence in Obama. I am however voicing a different opinion of what he actually said in his speech taken strictly from the written text of those words he addressed to the Middle East and Muslims. As for sounding like Bush, I definitely do think he sounds like Bush when he states we will not apologize for our way of life, and that deeply troubles me as an American. An apology doesn’t need to be a mea culpa, it needs to be an abrupt turn around in how we have conducted ourselves as a nation towards others. I HOPE Obama does this.

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