Favorite Line from the Inauguration Speech

There was considerable advance speculation about President Obama’s inauguration speech, with the anticipatory airwaves filled with great moments from inauguration speeches past.

My favorite line from today’s speech was:

we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To me, although it was said in reference to other nations, it effectively summarizes the Obama approach and sits out there as a challenge to Republicans in Congress and beyond.

What do you think will be the most memorable line?  And does it rise to the level of “all we have to fear, is fear itself” or “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”?

P.S.  Is it asking too much, now that Barack Obama has been sworn in as President of the United States, that WordPress stop flagging “Obama” as a misspelled word?

3 Responses to “Favorite Line from the Inauguration Speech”

  1. For one, I think it’s important to note that Obama doesn’t do one liners. He’s never been an orator that will cue up the next, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” or “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” It’s almost strange that someone who is so universally recognized as a moving and motivational speaker doesn’t coin such clipped phrases that will undoubtedly live on in perpetuity. Instead, what makes his speeches so memorable is that the context is the focus, that there are entire passages and clauses and subtexts that are memorable. It wasn’t, “there is no blue America or red America,” it is, “There isn’t a conservative America or liberal America, there is the United States of America. There is no blue America or red America, there is the United States of America. There isn’t a black America, or white America, or Latino America or Asian America, there is the United States of America. We are all one people, all pledging allegience to the stars and stripes. E Pluribus Unim. Out of many, one.”

    That being said, I’ve been listening to the coverage all day long, and some of the newscasters have been pointing out some lines, yours among them. The other line I keep hearing reiterated is the one where he said that now is the time to put away childish things. But for me, for some reason, the single phrase that grabbed me by the ears, that reiterated my belief that this guy really and truly gets it, is:

    “Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you can destroy.”

    There is a lot that is phenomenal about his address, but this truly speaks to an understanding that for at least eight years, and perhaps much longer, we’ve had this wrong philosophy about the world, and how to combat the evils of terrorism, and the relationship that people have with their governments, and how the governments exploit those relations. It is a comment directed specifically towards dictators, foreign dictators and regimes that rule through terror, but it could just as easily apply to us here, and how we see the world, and most importantly that at this point in our country’s existence, the path to progress is not through that of destruction, but through construction.

  2. Hmmm… could have thought more people would have joined in on this

  3. radical_Moderate says:

    I really liked the line about putting away childish things. But I also liked:

    “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works “

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