President Obama’s Inauguration: Good Words on a Good Day

Richard Blanco (from Inaugural Poem One Today): BlancoOneAll of us, as vital as the one light we move through, the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day, equations to solve, history to question or atoms imagine, the “I have a dream” we all keep dreaming or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain the empty desks of twenty children marked absent today and forever.¬†

President Obama (from Inaugural Day Speech): obamatwoProgress requires us to act in our time. For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford a delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle. Or substitute spectacle for politics. Or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act.

Martin Luther King: (from final speech given on April 3, 1968): mlkAnd another reason that I’m happy to live in this period is that we’ve been forced to a point where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn’t force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between¬†violence or nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or non-existent. That is where we are today.