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|Inaugural Address||Barack Hussein Obama|
|Page 2 of 5||
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and travelled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops, and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip, and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought, and died, in places like Concord, and Gettysburg, Normandy, and Khe Sahn.
Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed until their hands were raw, so that we might live a better life.
They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions, greater than all the differences of birth, or wealth, or faction.
THIS is the journey we continue today.
We remain the most prosperous powerful nation on Earth.
Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.
Our minds are no less inventive.
Our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.
Our capacity remains undiminished, but our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions. . .that time has surely passed.
Starting TODAY, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. . .
[long applause pause]
. . .for everywhere we look there is work to be done.
The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay new foundations 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.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.
Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
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 to day is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is YES, we intend to move forward, where the answer is NO, programs will end, and those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
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Barack Hussein Obama
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