Change has come in the form of the 44th president of the United States. Cabrini faculty, staff and students passionately applauded in the Widener Lecture Hall as they watched the first African-American president be sworn into office.
“He’s a leader, his choice of words, his delivery [and] his confidence came to show,” newly-inaugurated Cabrini President Marie George said. “It’s wonderful to experience this.”
People gathered everywhere from Washington D.C. to Besuki, Indonesia to New York City to Kogelo, Kenya to view this historical moment. Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, will forever remain a symbol of change for America as President Barack Hussein Obama’s inauguration day.
“The only word I can really use to describe it was surreal. I remember standing there constantly saying to myself, ‘we’re going to get better, America’s going to get out of these hard times,'” Joe Johnson, senior history major, said about what it felt like being in Washington D.C.
President Obama declared the change in America and the world by mentioning “the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”
“[Obama] really does have a passion to change the country,” Renee Maloney, sophomore communication major, said. “A lot of people are making it about black and white, but it’s not about [that]; it’s about wrong and right. He really is going to change it; I don’t doubt it for a second.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., explained that “justice and equality made this [unique presidency] possible.”
His is a presidency that illustrates “that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness,” Obama confidently said. “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth.”
“I’ve always been proud to be an American,” Johnson said, “but at that moment, I was even more proud after hearing Obama’s vision for his administration; it was exactly what this country needed to hear.”
As Obama briefly listed the changes needed for this country, he motivated his audience by stating that “starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. All this we can do. All this we will do.”
Rather than stressing policies, Obama conveyed the necessity to rebuild America’s foundation and the responsibilities of our country for itself and the world.
“The speech was value laden, which I think was great,” George said. “It’s inspiring [and] hopeful, but yet truth-telling for where we’re at as a nation, what got us to this place and the responsibilities we have to the world.”
Obama informed his attentive audience that the United States needs to stop focusing solely on itself and help the less fortunate. “To those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.”
This selfless change for Americans is being introduced at Cabrini by George. The new Justice Matters curriculum will allow students to participate in ECG courses that will instill these same values that the president of the United States broadcasted.
Obama then addressed the rest of the world personally, “To all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born, know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.”
Various aspects of this speech, from addressing the need for the United States to be part of the world to America’s recent decrease in spirit, appealed to each individual in their unique respect.
“People [might] look at him as a black man but they don’t see an intelligent, educated, strong, regal man that won’t settle for less,” Maloney said.
Lamar Fisher, sophomore communication major, agreed that, “[Obama] really has the power to change [America].”
Obama has already begun to change the American image by addressing those that have yet to demonstrate a willingness to change. “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.”
Although Obama is bringing change, the values with which the country will face its challenges are old and true: “honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism.”
Christina Cimmino, senior English and communication major, emotionally expressed the return to patriotism she feels this country needed.
“[Obama’s] inaugural address brought me to tears,” Cimmino said. “I don’t think I’ve had this much pride in America since 9/11. My cousin was killed in [the attack] and I haven’t seen America or anybody as patriotic since 2001. It’s really the change and the uplift the country needs right now.”
Marcel Bassett, senior political science major, said, “Only time will tell the truth [of what will become of America].”
President Obama summed up his call to Americans: “Let us mark this day in remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.”