President Barack Obama was elected more than four years ago under the slogan of “a change”. Yesterday the president made a call to the nation to continue with this goal in mind, in order to transform the U.S. into a nation that is more fair for all.
The inaugural address yesterday was clear and powerful. The progressive vision that helped Obama win the White House twice was a constant feature in an agenda that included a focus on civil rights, the environment and immigrants, among others.
Obama, with the political weight of the re-election already behind him, defended the position of a federal government whose actions were as positive in the past as they can be in the future by investing in human and material infrastructure.
It is possible that in his speech, historians won’t find a memorable phrase for the history books. In this case, what marks a new cyclea different path for our countryis the content of the message.
It signals the closing of a conservative period that former President Ronald Reagan began more than 30 years ago when he declared the government an enemy, deregulation a philosophy and tax reductions an article of faith in order to stimulate the economy and at the same tie shrink the federal government by removing funding. The results of those decades were the Great Recession and the largest wealth gap in U.S. history.
Today the pendulum driven by voters seeks a new balance. Obama yesterday set the coordinates of a new journey and dared the country to tackle the future with the optimism with which they would defend a cause.
The great challenge for the president is still the House of Representatives, where the Republican majority has entrenched itself, defending a conservatism so staunch that it would have even excluded Reagan. This ideological distortion is another sign of the end of a cycle that has run its course.
Obama yesterday was the president that voters elected. The pragmatic politician interested in his re-election was replaced by a leader who wishes for his legacy to be a better society for all.