In a Dark Valley: Barack Obama's Inaugural Address


| 1/15/2009 9:55:04 AM


Tags: Great Writing, Barack Obama, inaugural address, TomDispatch,

Barack Obama SpeechTom Engelhardt of the Nation Institute and TomDispatch.com has drafted an inaugural address for Barack Obama. "For a president who wants to set us on a new path amid global disaster," Engelhardt says of his speech, "what better time to remember the experimental modesty with which our first presidents anxiously embarked on their journeys?"

Here, reprinted with permission, is Engelhardt's full inaugural address:

In a Dark Valley: Barack Obama's Inaugural Address

In my lifetime, presidents have regularly come before you, the American people, proclaiming new dawns or hailing this country as a shining city upon a hill, an example to the rest of the world. But on this cold, wintry day, I hardly need tell you that we seem to have joined much of the rest of the world in an increasingly shadowy, sunless valley.

We -- not just we Americans but all of us -- are living in a world in peril, one in which we have far more to fear than fear itself. And don't imagine, having just taken the oath of office on the Bible Abraham Lincoln laid his hand on in an earlier moment of national crisis, that I don't have my own fears about the task ahead. I can't help but worry whether my abilities are up to challenges, which would surely have been daunting even to a Washington, a Lincoln, or a Roosevelt.

Nonetheless, you elected me. You have, I know, invested your hopes in me in these trying times. And fortunately, I sense that you are at my side now and will, I hope, remain there, encouraging and criticizing, praising or chiding as you see fit, through the worst and, with luck, the best of times. I'm thankful for that. Without your support, your wisdom, what could I hope to accomplish? We -- and in this presidency, when I use that word, I will mean you and me, not the royal "we" to which American presidents have become far too attached -- we can, I think, hope to accomplish much, but only if we're honest with ourselves.