by David Safier
There's lots to mull over in Obama's second inaugural address, but I keep coming back to his opening words where he referred to the statement from the Declaration of Independence that some truths are "self-evident." Then he went on to enumerate those self-evident truths, which every American should know. Except that most of the truths he enumerated as he expanded on the central concept of the Declaration — about how we have to care for everyone, assure the equality of opportunity for all, look out for the environmental health of the nation and the world — are hardly self-evident to Republicans.
Professor Obama taught the nation a lesson about self-evident truths, and in the process, he shamed the opposition at the same time he threw down the legislative and executive gauntlet. Those of you on the other side of the aisle have a lot to learn about what makes this country great, he told them, and I, working with Democratic legislators and the American people, will be steadfast in moving this nation toward making more of those self-evident truths a reality, because, in his words, "history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing."
It's telling that Obama chose the term "self-executing," seeing as how he's the head of the Executive Branch of government. The choice of language by the Wordsmith in Chief is rarely casual. He's saying it is his personal duty as President of the United States to make sure the self-evident truths are put into execution. As he's shown since the election, he plans to push his agenda forcefully. No more Mister Nice Guy. For him to reach out to Republicans, they need to reach back to him.