Thursday, January 22, 2009

Words that resonate

President Obama's inaugural speech set an appropriate tone for the hard work that now begins. It was a fitting repudiation of the politics of the past eight years, and those of us who work in the world of science and policy were especially pleased that he included an absolute rejection of the Bush Administration's partisan interference in science. For me, the key part was his reminder that what needs to be done now is nothing different from what has been done before. In so many ways, it is simple: start by reminding ourselves of the values that make us American:
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break; the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate. Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.
The full-text of the speech is worth reading... and keeping around to remind us how important it is that all of us come together now and work together toward the common good.

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